Diego Pacheco could not have been more pleased to hear Edgar Berlanga’s team finally mention his name.
A once-unthinkable matchup between the pair of unbeaten super middleweights has now been teased as a possibility for later this year. Brooklyn’s Berlanga is currently due to face Belfast’s Paidrag McCrory (18-0, 9KOs) atop a February 24 DAZN show from Orlando, Florida.
A wish list was already mapped out by Angel ‘Memo’ Heredia, Berlanga’s strength and conditioning coach.
“He knows there is a lot at [stake[ on the 24th,” Heredia told BoxingScene’s Ryan Burton. “If he looks good then it’s probably Jaime Munguia or Diego Pacheco. We are targeting those two guys.
“That will be up to his manager [Keith Connolly] but that is what we are targeting. Right now we are just focused on the 24th and putting on a spectacular show here in Orlando in front of all of his Puerto Rican fans.”
The callout—even if not direct—was music to the ears of at least one stated target.
“Yea great to hear,” Pacheco told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve been calling Edgar out now for like over a year, he never responds. At least someone from his team isn’t afraid to mention my name, still not sure about Edgar though.”
Pacheco (20-0, 17KOs) has rapidly emerged as one of the sport’s pegged can’t-miss future stars. The 22-year-old from Los Angeles’ South Central region has knocked out each of his past ten opponents, including a perfect 6-0 inside the distance since he aligned with head trainer Jose Benavidez Sr. two years ago.
Among his three stoppage wins in a productive 2023 campaign, Pacheco tore through England’s Jack Cullen last March on the road in Liverpool. He ended the year with a knockout of former title challenger Marcelo Coceres. Pacheco suffered two cuts in a competitive bout through eight rounds before he put Coceres down for the count late in the ninth round of their November 18 DAZN hometown headliner from YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.
Coceres was competitive in a November 2019 stoppage defeat to then-unbeaten WBO super middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders at Staples Center (now Crytpo.com Arena) in Los Angeles. The 32-year-old Argentinean is also the only fighter to drop Berlanga (21-0, 16KOs), which came in the ninth round of an October 2021 defeat in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacheco has been keen to bump with Berlanga, a popular NuyorIcan who has gone the distance in each of his past five fights.
“I’m ready. Been ready,” insisted Pacheco, who awaits marching orders for his first fight of the new year. “Been begging Eddie [Hearn, head of Matchroom Boxing] for the fight. I know he hears me. I know he sees what I’ve been doing. I’m higher than him in the ratings, across the board. He knows it.
“I’m here bro; where you at? You can’t hide forever.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox