Jeremiah Nakathila redeemed himself and ruined Miguel Berchelt’s comeback all at the same time Saturday night.
Namibia’s Nakathila battered Berchelt for most of their six-round lightweight fight at Resorts World Las Vegas, which caused referee Russell Mora to stop the action as soon as the sixth round ended. Nakathila landed numerous flush right hands to Berchelt’s head, scored a knockdown during the third round and produced the biggest win of his career two fights after Shakur Stevenson out-boxed him in their 12-round, 130-pound title fight last June 12 at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Nakathila improved to 23-2 and recorded his 19th knockout by winning a main event ESPN televised. Mexico’s Berchellt (38-3, 34 KOs) lost by knockout for the third time as a pro.
The 30-year-old Berchelt was almost a 6-1 favorite entering his first fight since his devastating defeat to Oscar Valdez 13 months ago. Berchelt was a 4-1 favorite over Valdez, but the shorter boxer battered Berchelt on his way to scoring three knockdowns and viciously knocked him out in the 10th round of their 130-pound championship match in February 2021 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Cancun’s Berchelt determined after that lopsided loss that he had to move up from the 130-pound division to the lightweight limit of 135 pounds. Not draining himself to make weight didn’t matter once the bell rang Saturday night.
The 32-year-old Nakathila exploited Berchelt’s defensive deficiencies and continually caught him power punches to his head and body. The sixth round was particularly telling.
Nakathila caught Berchelt with a right hand 1:15 into the sixth round. Mora warned Nakathila for leading with his head with 1:10 to go in the sixth round.
Yet another flush right hand by Nakathila knocked Berchelt’s mouthpiece flying to the canvas. That gave Berchelt a break he desperately needed with 29 seconds on the clock in the sixth round.
After taking a lot of punches in the first four rounds, Berchelt backed up Nakathila with a right-left combination 30 seconds into the fifth round. Another left by Berchelt backed Nakathila into the ropes with 55 seconds to go in the fifth round.
Berchelt and Nakathila then traded flush shots to the head during an action-packed final minute of the fifth round.
Nakathila buckled Berchelt’s legs with a right hand 15 seconds into the fourth round. Nakathila got good extension on another right hand with just over a minute on the clock in the fourth round.
A three-punch combination by Nakathila sent Berchelt to the canvas with 1:27 to go in the third round. Berchelt got up, but Nakathila wobbled him with a left-right combination with 30 seconds to go in the third round.
Barely 20 seconds into the second round, Nakathila caught Berchelt with a right hand. Berchelt began landing his jab during the middle minute of the second round.
Nakathila’s right to the body got Berchelt’s attention with just under a minute remaining in the second round. Several seconds later, Nakathila’s flush right hand landed up top.
According to unofficial punch stats, Nakathila landed more punches in the first two rounds against Berchelt (31) than he connected with in 12 rounds versus Stevenson (28).
Nakathila missed wildly with several right hands in the first half of the opening round. Nakathila caught Berchelt with a right hand to his temple with about 1:20 to go in the first round.
Nakathila landed another overhand right just before the bell sounded to end the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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