The Forum in Inglewood, California has been home to some outstanding boxing wars. Ring Magazine’s 1995 Fight of the Year took place there, when Humberto Gonzalez ended his Hall of Fame career by going out on his shield via Round 7 TKO against Thailand’s Saman Sorjaturong. It was one of the best fights of the decade.
It’s all but certain we will see another classic there this Saturday night when Miguel Berchelt defends his WBC super featherweight title against the man who once held that belt, Japan’s Takashi Miura.
Miura dropped that belt to Francisco Vargas in November 2015, in what many regarded as the best fight of that year. Miura looked like he might get stopped in Round 1, but he battled back and managed to drop Vargas in Round 4. He nearly closed Vargas’ right eye in Round 5, but Vargas managed to survive before launching his own onslaught in Round 9, dropping Miura in the opening seconds of the frame. Miura heroically made it to his feet and gamely attempted to hang on, but referee Tony Weeks was forced to stop in at 1:31 of the round.
Miura has knocked out a pair of opponents since losing the belt. Vargas would go on to draw with Orlando Salido in June 2016. He lost the WBC strap last January to Berchelt via Round 11 KO in another closely fought battle.
At 25, Berchelt has to be regarded as one of the division’s brightest lights. He is 31-1 with the only loss coming by Round 1 TKO back in 2014, when he still a relative novice. He has knocked out 28 opponents, for a KO percentage of 88 percent.
Miura is a come-forward fighter, so Berchelt should have a very good opportunity to win another one inside of the distance. At the same time, Miura is a true gunslinger. He will put himself in danger, but he will be slinging some serious leather in the process.