Jeremiah Nakathila knew Oscar Valdez would defeat Miguel Berchelt.
The Namibian junior lightweight contender considered Valdez’s style perfect for beating Berchelt, who was consistently listed as a 4-1 favorite over Valdez. Nogales’ Valdez proved Nakathila correct by battering Berchelt on his way to dropping the former WBC super featherweight champion four times and knocking him out in the 10th round of their February 2021 bout at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
“I was not surprised,” Nakathila, who will battle Berchelt on Saturday night, told BoxingScene.com. “Looking at his wins before, the type of opponents that he faced, it’s not opponents that were the caliber of Valdez. I knew Valdez had an opportunity to beat him because looking at the style of fighting for Berchelt, it’s an easy style to beat.”
The 30-year-old Berchelt was down big on all three scorecards – 89-80, 88-81 and 87-82 – when Valdez viciously knocked him out with a left hook that sent Berchelt to the canvas face first in the 10th round.
Nakathila thinks Berchelt’s style will be easy for him to beat as well, particularly since Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) hasn’t fought in the 13 months since Valdez defeated him. He is confident he’ll become the third opponent to knock out Berchelt in a 10-round main event ESPN will televise from Resorts World Las Vegas (10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. PT).
“It affected him,” Nakathila said of Berchelt’s loss to Valdez. “He just woke up now and we’re going to put him back to sleep.”
The 32-year-old Nakathila (22-2, 18 KOs) also lost to an undefeated 130-pound champion two fights ago. Shakur Stevenson cautiously yet clearly out-boxed the heavy-handed Nakathila in their 12-round fight for the WBO interim junior lightweight title June 12 at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs), who will face Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) in a title unification fight April 30 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, defeated Nakathila by scores of 120-107, 120-107 and 120-107. Nakathila insists he will apply what he has learned from his subpar performance versus Stevenson when he boxes Berchelt, who Caesars Sportsbook has established as almost a 6-1 favorite.
“I cannot really say much about him,” Nakathila said of Berchelt. “I can only say that I’m a better man than him. Looking at his videos, all I can say is I’m a better boxer than Miguel Berchelt.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.