By: Hans Themistode
Both Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez have an insatiable desire to prove themselves as the man to beat. With both fighters holding world titles at 130 pounds, they are widely regarded as the best fighters that the weight class has to offer.
As of late, however, before both men officially signed off on their April 30th, showdown, Stevenson openly berated Valdez in an attempt to lure him into the ring. Although Stevenson was initially convinced that Valdez wanted to shy away from his open challenge, the former Olympic silver medalist was pleasantly surprised when Valdez welcomed Stevenson’s callouts with open arms.
With Stevenson in possession of the WBO super featherweight title and Valdez holding firm to his WBC trinket, promoter Bob Arum is gleeful that their contest has become a reality.
“Both of these guys are very prideful,” said Arum during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “Both of these guys have taken the fight, not because they had to by any sanctioning body but because they wanted it. Those kinds of fights are very intense and enjoyable to watch.”
Throughout the long Hall of Fame career of Arum, the longtime promoter has always had an inkling as to how any particular contest would play out. However, this time around, he’s having trouble picking a winner.
In the case of Stevenson, since making a name for himself in the 2016 Olympics, he’s barely broken a sweat on his way to an unblemished record through 17 professional fights, which includes two world titles. In his most recent trip to the ring, Stevenson easily dissected former titlist, Jamel Herring, lifting his WBO 130 pound title in the process.
As for Valdez, he’s become bemused by the entire notion that he was “ducking” Stevenson in the first place. Although initially, Stevenson earned a mandatory title shot against Valdez at 126 pounds, the Mexican native opted against defending his WBO crown against the American star and instead, took on deleterious knockout puncher, Miguel Berchelt at 130 pounds.
Despite being considered an underdog, Valdez brutalized his man, dropping him a total of four times before finishing him off in the tenth round. Since then, Valdez’s star power has taken somewhat of a hit following his lackluster showing against Robson Conceicao in September of 2021.
Still, the listless showing of Valdez will now be brushed under the rug. With a little over a month remaining until the pair of world titleholders swap fists in the ring, oddsmakers have pegged Stevenson as a significant favorite. But, regardless of the public backing of the betting world, Arum is still unsure how their contest will play out.
“I haven’t the foggiest notion of how the fight is going to play out. These guys have become skilled professionals and they have great corners. How the fights going to unfold is hard to predict.”
Send this to a friend