Edgar Berlanga went into his Puerto Rican Day weekend fight wanting to be known for a big win on a night he'd wanted to fight on for years. Instead, the night might be remembered for the antics he tried to pull in the ring.
Berlanga defeated Alexis Angulo by unanimous decision (98-92, 99-91, 99-91) in a super middleweight bout on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theater.
But in the seventh round, Berlanga appeared to attempt to bite Angulo -- something the 25-year-old admitted after the fight.
"He was throwing elbows. I was about to do a Mike Tyson on him," Berlanga said during his postfight interview on ESPN. "He kept throwing his elbows and pushing it out. I didn't want to get cut."
Berlanga was referencing one of the most infamous moments in boxing history, when Tyson bit Evander Holyfield's right ear, leading to a disqualification in their 1997 heavyweight title bout.
That didn't happen Saturday night, as Berlanga appeared to make contact not with Angulo's ear but rather his shoulder. Angulo moved his head away as it looked like Berlanga was going in for the chomp and pushed Berlanga away.
If Berlanga (20-0, 16 KO) was trying to keep from being cut, he had already been bleeding earlier in the fight. The 38-year-old Angulo (27-3, 23 KO) had forced some blood from Berlanga's nose early in the fight and at least a little bit from his mouth toward the end of the 10-round bout.
When Berlanga wasn't trying to bite his opponent, he was the more effective fighter. He landed 25.5% of his punches (108 of 423) and 35.8% of his power punches (58 of 162). Angulo actually threw more power punches but landed only 67 of 231, or 29%.
Berlanga, from Brooklyn, New York, outlanded Angulo, from Colombia, 108-79 in total punches and 50-12 in jabs.
"I just got the experience I needed," Berlanga said. "Once again, my power is still there. I hurt him a couple of times. I didn't want to fall for any traps or anything. I knew he was a tough guy."
On Sunday, Berlanga apologized for his comments on social media.
"I want to apologize for my actions and what I said yesterday about the Mike Tyson bite. I was in the moment and got a little ahead of myself. It doesn't take away from the embarrassment that I have caused upon myself, my team, top ranks, and many others," he wrote in a tweet.
"I reacted poorly and take full responsibility," he added. "Moving forward, I am going to be more mindful and encouraging in my behavior. Once again, I do apologize."
Angulo had twice fought for the super middleweight title, losing to David Benavidez by unanimous decision in 2020 and to Gilberto Ramirez in 2018.
The win marked the fourth straight unanimous decision for Berlanga after he had 16 straight first-round knockouts to start his career. It was his second win this year after a unanimous decision over Steve Rolls in March.