Edgar Berlanga. [Inpho/Matchroom Boxing/Ed Mulholland]

Berlanga too strong for McCrory

Going into the biggest fight of his career, Padraig “The Hammer” McCrory had talked of being one punch away from victory over fellow undefeated super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga in their world title eliminator at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida, last Saturday. The Belfastman landed numerous shots, but not just “the” big one as Berlanga came on strong to score a sixth round TKO.

A day earlier in New York, Dubliner Keane “Iceman” McMahon had dropped an eight-round unanimous points decision to Danny “El Gallo” Gonzalez in their super welterweight scrap at The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

For three and a half rounds, McCrory, who’s 35 and ranked #3 by the WBA and #13 by the IBF, was competitive against Berlanga, the WBO’s #5 contender. He was able to exchange punches with the heavy handed Brooklynite nine years his junior, and by end of fight had left welts on his face.

But Berlanga -- 16 of whose previous 21 victories had come via stoppages -- dialed it up in the fourth stanza of the scheduled 12-rounder. McCrory was rocked by a hard left hook to the temple and slowly began to unravel.

His punches seemed to lose their pop as he bravely tried to fight off Berlanga. They went at it again in the sixth round, with Berlanga landing two right hands to the head, the second of which sent McCrory to the canvas.

McCrory’s corner had seen enough and threw in the towel as the Belfastman, who’s held the WBC International Silver super middleweight and IBO light heavyweight titles, suffered his first pro defeat [18-1, 9 KOs].

The time was 2:44 of the sixth.

This was Berlanga’s second consecutive victory over Irish opposition. Last June, he decked Donegal’s Jason Quigley four times en route to a 12 round unanimous points at Madison Square Garden..  

With the win over McCrory, Berlanga is now the mandatory challenger to WBA super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.

At The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island, Keane McMahon [7-4, 4 KOs] put up a spirited effort in his loss to Danny Gonzalez [21-4, 17 KOs].

Keane started strong by keeping Gonzalez at bay with a powerful jab. As the fight progressed fatigue seemed to creep in. By the third round, Gonzalez started to find ways around the jab and began to apply constant pressure to the body.

 In typical Gonzalez fashion, his gas tank did not fail him as he continued to pressure McMahon and drown him in punches. At the close of the eighth and final round, Gonzalez was declared the winner by unanimous decision.

Ahead of his star light heavyweight’s Madison Square Garden return on March 15, promoter Lou Di Bella tells irishboxing.com that it’s time “Mighty” Joe Ward stepped it up in the pro ranks.

Ward is matched against New Jersey veteran Derrick Webster [29-4-1, 14 KOs], who’s made his reputation as a sparring partner for the likes of greats Roy Jones, Jr., the Russian Sergey Kovalev, and Andre Ward.

 “Derrick Webster is the toughest opponent Joe Ward has fought,” DiBella told irishboxing.com.

“It’s time for Joe to step up and that’s why we made the fight.”

Ward-Webster will be on the undercard of Cork star “King” Callum Walsh’s super welterweight clash with Dauren Yeleussinov at the Garden. Also on the Tom Loeffler 360 Promotions show is Tyrone’s “Fearless” Feargal McCrory in the co-feature. The card will be broadcast live globally on UFC FIGHT PASS, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports.