Thirteen months after Miguel Berchelt was surprisingly flattened by Oscar Valdez in a junior lightweight world title fight, Berchelt is looking to rejuvenate his career on Saturday. And Jeremiah Nakathila might be just the right opponent for him as Berchelt looks to return to his winning ways. Here’s everything you need to know about Miguel Berchelt vs. Jeremiah Nakathila, including the odds, their records and a prediction on who will win.
It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Berchelt, who made a name for himself by using his destructive punching power to win a 130-pound world title in 2017 and to then defend it six times before falling to Valdez. Now, the 31-year-old is moving up to 135 pounds, and he said he’s feeling better than ever.
“Miguel Berchelt is coming very hungry and with a strong desire to once again become world champion,” he said. “I’ve been training for this fight since November in Las Vegas. I left my family. I left my house. I left a lot of things behind just like I did when I started in boxing. I will make sure that all those efforts were worthwhile.”
It’s been 13 months since this happened.
But in the aftermath, Berchelt said he got to rest and recover from that beating and from the respiratory problems he had following a COVID diagnosis. He brought in a new trainer in Jorge Capetillo, and he moved from Mexico to Las Vegas to prepare himself for the next phase of his career. Now, he says he feels like a new fighter.
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“My goal is to become world champion at lightweight,” he said. “It will not be easy because I know that at 135 pounds there are a lot of great fighters.”
It is indeed crowded at 135 pounds. Though Berchelt is probably in the back half of his career, you’d have to figure that, with his power, he’d have a decent chance against any of the top lightweights, including George Kambosos, Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia or Gervonta “Tank” Davis. In reality, I’d probably make him an underdog against all of those opponents, but Berchelt’s punch will always give him a chance.
Nakathila also is expecting something special on Saturday.
“Expect fireworks,” he said. “Come Saturday night, I’m going to destroy Miguel Berchelt, and I will be victorious.”
Here’s more info on the Miguel Berchelt vs. Jeremiah Nakathila showdown that U.S. viewers can watch Saturday on ESPN or ESPN+ beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
Miguel Berchelt vs. Jeremiah Nakathila odds
Unsurprisingly, Berchelt is the solid betting favorite at -700 (bet $700 to win $100). Meanwhile, Nakathila is the +400 underdog (win $400 on a $100 wager). I don’t care much for either money line (maybe if Nakathila was like +1000, you could justify wagering a small amount on him). Even betting on Berchelt to win by stoppage at -250 isn’t much of a value. Instead, I’d go with a more specific prop bet, either Berchelt to win by stoppage in rounds 1-6 at +175 or to win by stoppage in rounds 4-6 at +300. Even then, though, you’re not getting a ton of value for a much more specific bet.
If you were looking for a fun parlay for this weekend’s action of boxing (and this is only for entertainment purposes), I might take Berchelt to stop Nakathila at -250, Josh Warrington to beat Kiko Martinez at -350 and Tim Tszyu to beat Terrell Gausha by decision at +105. If you get all those correct, that would pay out $269 on a $100 bet.
Miguel Berchelt vs. Jeremiah Nakathila records
Before losing to Valdez, Berchelt (38-2, 34 KOs) had gone seven years without a defeat. And he’s beaten some solid opponents in the process, including Francisco Vargas twice, Takashi Miura and Miguel Roman. Nakathila isn’t necessarily on that level, so if Berchelt were to lose on Saturday, it’d be a real disappointment for him.
The biggest name on Nakathila’s resume is Shakur Stevenson, and he got knocked down and then shut out by the American star last year. Nakathila (22-2, 18 KOs) has spent most of his career fighting in his native Namibia, and aside from Stevenson, he was beaten by the then-undefeated Evgeny Chuprakov in 2016. All of which means Nakathila probably isn’t good enough to beat Berchelt.
Miguel Berchelt vs. Jeremiah Nakathila prediction
Nakathila has never beaten anybody close to Berchelt’s level. In fact, in his last fight, he faced an opponent who was only 7-2. Unless Berchelt was completely demoralized by the Valdez fight, I don’t think he’ll have many problems with Nakathila. I say Berchelt by stoppage in the fifth round.