To Bite Or Not To Bite: Edgar Berlanga Almost Pulls A Tyson, But Is It Justifiable?

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Edgar Berlanga hugs Alexis Angulo after defeating him to win the NABO super middleweight championship fight at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 11, 2022 in New York City. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

There is an adage that says history repeats itself, and in boxing that might not be a good thing. Last night, super middleweight Edgar Berlanga dominated a boring fight, yet he attempted to pull a Mike Tyson-to-Evander Holyfield ear bite against his opponent, Alexis Angulo.

The two fought on Saturday night as the main event at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on ESPN. Berlanga, who boxed well enough to outpoint the veteran journeyman Angulo, became frustrated in the seventh round and looked very Tyson vs. Holyfield 2-esque in the ring; Berlanga went for a bite, apparently to send a message.

Berlanga seemed to bite Angulo on the left shoulder during a clinch in the seventh round before going for his left ear. Angulo dodged away, but the referee did not see what was happening.

From Bows To Bites

Still, Berlanga won by a wide margin with scores of 99-91, 99-1, and 98-92; however, the fight seemed closer, and Berlanga should have been disqualified for the biting attempt.

Even worse, the 25-year-old admitted to it 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.”

Is someone auditioning for Def Comedy Jam? Trying to bite someone during is fight is no laughing matter.

The Tyson

When Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s right ear during their rematch called The Sound and The Fury, Tyson vs. Holyfield 2, “Iron Mike” was disqualified in their 1997 heavyweight title bout.

It is an event that went down in history as the most bizarre in the sport. It also took Tyson a while to rebound from the incident. Now it is lampooned in the form of cannabis-infused gummies in the shape of ears packaged and distributed by Tyson’s cannabis enterprise.

Luckily for Angulo, his ear won’t be the subject of any edibles soon. Berlanga now looks disarray from the lackluster performance that frankly made the UFC 273 event in Singapore look even better.

Puerto Rican Day Parade Weekend

Surprisingly, Berlanga (20-0, 16 KOs), Puerto Rican by way of Brooklyn, was fighting during the National Puerto Rican Day parade weekend, legendary for PR fighters and a cultural proving ground like no other.

Although defeated, the 38-year-old Angulo (27-3, 23 KO) did make Berlanga’s nose bleed early in the fight, and his mouth began to leak toward the end of the 10-round affair.

Still, Berlanga landed 25.5 percent of his punches (108 of 423) and 35.8 percent of his power punches (58 of 162). Angulo hurled more power punches, landing only 67 of 231, or 29 percent.

When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Bite Down, But Not Like That

“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.”

The win is the fourth straight unanimous decision for Berlanga. He has 16 straight first-round knockouts at the beginning of his career. Now he just has to learn to control his biting tendencies when the going gets elbow-tough.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.