‘Me at my best, nobody is f***ing with me...’ Fired-up Berlanga promises to destroy Ireland’s hope McCrory

West Belfast super-middleweight McCrory determined to cause a shock in Orlando rumble

Edgar Berlanga trains in Tampa for his upcoming bout against Padraig McCrory on February 24 at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando. Picture: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom. (Ed Mulholland/Matchroom./Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.)

EDGAR Berlanga knocked his first 16 opponents out in the first round and he boasts that it’ll be “all over” for Belfast super-middleweight Padraig McCrory when they fight in Orlando, Florida next Saturday.

Berlanga (21-0), the home favourite, believes he has “bigger fish to fry” than unassuming McCrory and he intends to destroy the Irish underdog when they top the Matchroom Boxing bill at the Caribe Royale resort.

The prize for the winner is likely to be a shot at pound-for-pound king and crossover superstar Canela Alvarez, the undisputed champion at 168lbs. Berlanga says McCrory isn’t going to stand in his way.

“I’m going for the bigger fights but I know that I am his Canelo, his big fish,” he said.

“I’m not saying he’s not that for me, but there’s bigger fish to fry at 168, you have Canelo and Munguia on my radar.

“I’m not over-looking McCrory, I know he’s a tough opponent, but he’s in my way, I have to hurt him and look to destroy him, get him out of there and move on to the next.

“If he beats me, I’m one of the big names at 168 right now without a title. I’m selling venues out, I’ve got a big backing, I’m doing lots of different things. If he beats me, he is in line to fight one of the big names.

Padraig McCrory trains ahead OF  his fight against WBO super-middleweight champion Edgar Berlanga.
Padraig McCrory has thrown everything into training for his fight with Edgar Berlanga. Picture: Colm Lenaghan

“If I blast McCrory out in two or three rounds, people will say: ‘Oh he’s a cab driver, a bum’ but real boxing people know that he’s not that. I have to roll with the punches, keep my head down, stay humble and continue to knock everyone down.”

Of course Berlanga has to back up his talk in the ring and there is pressure on him to do that. His form has been on the slide – he hasn’t stopped an opponent in almost three years and needs an impressive win to recover lost ground.

“I know that there’s going to be fireworks coming from me on February 24, that’s a fact,” he said.

“I’m coming for the KO. He can say whatever he wants, but at the end of the day we have to go in there and tussle.

“I’ve sacrificed a lot, changing my environment, coming to the suburbs and being fully locked in on myself and my craft. I’ve refocused on the small details of my style to bring the best out of me so from all that right there, it’s going to be something amazing

“Me at my best, nobody is f***ing with me. When I am 100 per cent, which you’ll see on February 24, I am unstoppable.”

‘The Chosen One’ recognises that the stakes are high for him in a fight he is expected to win against an opponent who is virtually unknown in the USA.

“I feel like everything is at stake for me at the moment,” said the New Yorker with Puerto Rican roots.

“I can’t take any losses and I can’t look like shit in any of my fights. This fight is very important for me.

“I’m bringing it back home, Orlando is like little Puerto Rico and New York mixed all into one, so there’s going to be a lot of fans there and it’s very important for me to look my best.”