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Nakathila Thrashes Berchelt in the Inaugural Show at Resorts World

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  • Nakathila Thrashes Berchelt in the Inaugural Show at Resorts World

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Las Vegas -- Top Rank, which has been all over the Las Vegas map since Bob Arum came to town, found a new roosting place tonight in the form of Resorts World, the newest property on the ever-evolving Las Vegas Strip. A megaresort with more than 3,000 hotel rooms, the property was built at a reported cost of $4.3 billion although one wouldn’t have inferred that from the Events Center which is nothing more than an oversized tent with a canvas roof, lacking the amenity of restrooms inside the enclosure.

    The facility housed a nine-bout card, the main attraction of which was the return of Miguel Berchelt. The Yucatan, Mexico native was making his first start since suffering a brutal tenth-round knockout at the hands of Oscar Valdez. Prior to that, he had made six successful defenses of the WBC world super featherweight title he won in a bloody war with Francisco Vargas.

    The match with Oscar Valdez was the sort of fight that shortens a boxer’s career. Tonight, against Namibia’s Jeremiah Nakathila, Berchelt’s legs didn’t look right from the opening bell and he would be on the wrong end of a big upset again.

    Namibia’s Jeremiah Nakathila, who was whitewashed by Shakur Stevenson in his lone previous appearance in a U.S. ring, started fast, clearly winning the first three rounds. In the third, he put Berchelt on the canvas with a double-dose of straight left hands. Berchelt was more competitive in the next two frames as the crowd exhorted him with chants of “meh-he-co, meh-he-co”, but Nakathila turned the fight back in his favor in round six, knocking out Berchelt’s mouthpiece with a blistering straight right hand.

    At the end of the sixth round, referee Russell Mora, on the advice of the ringside physicians, waived the fight. At the point, Berchelt, a 6/1 favorite, had yet to win a round. Nakathila, who like Berchelt was moving up a weight class, improved to 23-2 with his 19th knockout. Berchelt lost for only the third time in 41 pro fights.

    “I thought I was in condition to continue,” said Berchelt after the fight via ESPN translator Bernardo Osuna. “I will come back stronger than ever.”

    The semi-windup was a 10-round featherweight contest between Southern Californians Jose Enrique Vivas and Eduardo Baez, both of whom have fought primarily in Northern Mexico. In a mild upset, Baez, whose twin brother Leonardo Baez is also a noted boxer, emerged victorious by way of a majority decision. The judges had it 98-92, 96-94, and 95-95.

    Although there were no indelible moments, this was a good scrap in which both fighters threw punches in bunches fighting at close quarters. Baez improved to 21-2-2; Vivas declined to 21-2.


    The flagship fight on ESPN’s secondary network was a feisty 8-round junior welterweight affair between Josue Vargas (20-2) and Nicholas Pablo Demario (15-6-3), an Argentine making his U.S. debut. Vargas overcame three knockdowns to win a unanimous decision. The judges had it 76-73 and 76-74 twice.

    There was a weird moment in the fifth round when the Argentine was docked a point for biting Vargas on the shoulder. At the conclusion, his corner was shocked by the decision. Vargas, from the Bronx by way of Puerto Rico, entered the ring wearing an elaborate white headdress of the sort associated with the fake Native Americans that were once a staple on the professional wrestling circuit.

    Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty images