By Steve Kim
Miguel Berchelt (32-1, 28 KO's) was supposed to be facing Orlando Salido in defense of his WBC 130-pound title in an HBO televised main event on Saturday night from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas - but he pulled out citing inflammation in his right hand.
But it's been a successful 2017 campaign for 'el Alacran', who in late January won the WBC title - in his HBO debut - by stopping undefeated and big favorite Francisco Vargas in eleven rounds.
Then in mid-July, he successfully defended his title by out-boxing mandatory challenger Takashi Miura over twelve rounds, also on HBO.
So how will he kick off his 2018 campaign?
"We would like to open in early February with him, probably in Cancun, or Merida, Yucatan. We would like to select a good opponent and make a title defense for his WBC championship and right after that we'd like to face the winner of the sensational match on December 9th," said Fernando Beltran, the head of Zanfer Promotions.
The fight that Beltran is referring to is Salido's bout against Miguel 'Mickey' Roman, who eventually replaced Berchalt for the card at the Mandalay Bay. Their fight will headline an HBO tripleheader.
"We would love to face the winner of Salido-Roman," said Beltran, who added with a chuckle, "hopefully Salido, that way I have both."
The fight between Salido and Roman was originally sanctioned as a final eliminator with the WBC interim-world title at stake. Berchelt would have been forced to fight the winner when he returned.
But WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has claimed in recent days that HBO downgraded Salido-Roman to a ten round fight and refused to change their position on the matter. Because the contest was no longer scheduled for twelve rounds, the WBC was forced to pull their interim-belt from the match.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.