Berchelt set to defend title vs. Sosa in November

Junior lightweight world titlist Miguel Berchelt will make his sixth defense against former secondary titlist Jason Sosa.

The fight, which is agreed to but has not yet been signed, is slated to headline a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card Nov. 2 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN on Tuesday.

"We are finishing things up," Moretti said. "The fight is agreed to. It's just a matter of getting the paperwork done at this point."

Top Rank hopes to have the bout signed in time for the fighters to meet the media next week in Las Vegas during fight week for the Tyson Fury-Otto Wallin lineal heavyweight championship fight.

Berchelt-Sosa has been expected since Sosa's very impressive and dominating seventh-round knockout of Haskell Lydell Rhodes on Aug. 10 in Philadelphia.

Berchelt and Sosa are both known for being in exciting fights, and Moretti said he expects nothing different when they square off.

"Stylistically, I think it's a can't-miss fight," Moretti said. "Jason looked really good in his last fight in Philadelphia, and Berchelt always looks good. Combined that with the fight being at Dignity Health Sports Park, which has a great tradition of hosting great fights, and I think you have the making of a fight-of-the-year candidate."

Top Rank had initially aimed to make the fight for the Fury-Wallin undercard Sept. 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but Berchelt said he would not have been able to make the 130-pound weight limit on that date. For a fight in November, he should be fine.

Berchelt (36-1, 32 KOs), 27, of Mexico, won the belt from countryman Francisco Vargas by bloody 11th-round knockout in January 2017. Berchelt is coming off a sixth-round stoppage of Vargas in their rematch May 11.

Sosa (23-3-4, 16 KOs), 31, of Camden, New Jersey, vacated his belt to facilitate a match for his biggest purse and exposure in a challenge of then-titleholder Vasiliy Lomachenko in April 2017. Sosa suffered a ninth-round stoppage loss followed by a heavily disputed majority decision loss to Yuriorkis Gamboa in November 2017.

Since then, Sosa has won three fights in a row, including the Rhodes domination, to put himself back in the title hunt.

As significant as the Nov. 2 fight is, the winner likely will move on to an even more significant bout, Moretti said.

"I think it leads to a bigger fight in the first quarter of 2020 for the winner," he said. "Either a unification fight or possibly a fight against Oscar Valdez."

Top Rank also promotes junior lightweight world titlist Jamel Herring (20-2, 10 KOs), who could meet the winner if he retains his title in November against mandatory challenger Lamont Roach Jr. Valdez (26-0, 20 KOs) recently vacated his featherweight world title to rise in weight. He is likely to make his debut in the junior lightweight division in January and then could face the Berchelt-Sosa winner.