It might have gone longer than expected, but Miguel Berchelt dispatched the tough Eleazar Valenzuela in six rounds on Saturday at the TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City.
For Berchelt, the reigning WBC junior lightweight champion, this was a non-title bout intended to keep him busy as he looks ahead to a fall showdown with Oscar Valdez.
"Every fan wants to see that fight, and we are ready for that war," Berchelt said of facing Valdez.
Known for his active style, Berchelt (38-1, 34 KOs) wasn't shy about letting his hands go. Whether it was a probing jab, left hooks to the body or chopping right hands up top -- all thrown in various combinations -- Berchelt steadily wore down Valenzuela (32-7, 23 KOs), who except for a first-round knockdown was able to withstand the onslaught for the first half of this scheduled 10-rounder.
In the sixth round, a pair of right hands stunned Valenzuela and a clean-up left hook had him dazed and disorientated on the ropes. As Berchelt advanced and threw a few more punches, the referee stepped in, and the fight was waved off.
Berchelt has an 89% knockout percentage, the highest among current junior lightweight champions. According to CompuBox, he outlanded Valenzuela 232-37 in total punches and 201-35 in power punches.
"I felt great, but the altitude [in] Mexico City hit me a little bit," Berchelt said. "It is not easy to fight in Mexico City, but thank God we got the victory. Eleazar is a tough fighter. He endured everything I threw at him. He gained my respect. My experience as world champion pushed me forward."
Although many expected a much shorter fight, given that Valenzuela was stopped in the second round by Miguel Parra in his previous outing, Berchelt was able to get a few extra rounds under his belt. His most recent outing came nine months ago against Jason Sosa and lasted only four rounds.
Berchelt -- rated as the top 130-pounder by ESPN -- has a well-earned reputation as one of the most entertaining boxers in the sport. Coming into the night, he had made six defenses of his WBC title, and this bout was an opportunity for him to get back into rhythm as he looks to a much more formidable fight later this year.