By: Hans Themistode
Although Oscar Valdez has shown multiple layers to his all-around game, the current WBC super featherweight champion has mostly relied on his grit, toughness, and tenacity to will himself to the top of the pugilistic mountain.
Against Scott Quigg in 2018, Valdez fought his way to a unanimous decision victory, despite suffering a broken jaw. Against Adam Lopez in 2019, Valdez peeled himself up off the deck in the second round and brawled his way to a 10th round stoppage victory.
Although the Mexican native is willing to do whatever it takes to pick up the victory against Shakur Stevenson this upcoming weekend, including engaging in another all-out war, Stevenson admits that he won’t be a willing participant. Instead, the former Olympic silver medalist and current WBO super featherweight champion envisions himself practicing the art of hit, while not getting hit.
“I’m not looking to have a tough fight with him,” said Stevenson to Crystina Poncher. “I’m not looking to go tit for tat, you hit me, I hit you, let’s see who’s the tougher fighter. I’m going in there to pick him apart. I’m going in there to pick him apart. I’m going in there to mentally drain him.”
Stevenson, in his own right, has shown an eagerness at times, to press forward and fight his opposition Mano e Mano. Following what Stevenson admits was a lackluster showing against Jeremia Nakathila in June of 2021, Stevenson turned in arguably the best performance of his career four months later.
On October 23, at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Stevenson was flawless as he dismantled now former titlist, Jamel Herring. With the win, Stevenson began his second world title reign in as many divisions.
Viewed as a considerable favorite against Valdez, Stevenson isn’t surprised by the public backing of the betting world. As the current 24-year-old takes a long and onerous look at the ledger of his upcoming opponent, the New Jersey native can’t help but smile. While he wholeheartedly respects Valdez and the opponents he’s shared the ring with over the years, Stevenson is convinced that his skill set is something Valdez has simply never seen before.
“I don’t think he’s ever been in front of a fighter like me. I think this is his first time being in there with somebody with my type of skills. As the fight goes on, I want him to mentally quit.”
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