WBO Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson was disappointed when he was told the news of the cancelation of his March 14th, contest against Miguel Marriaga. He became the first notable fighter that was forced to take a standing eight count due to COVID-19. Now, nearly three months later, he’s set to become the first noteworthy fighter to make their return to the ring.
Stevenson’s dance partner on the night is the unheralded Felix Caraballo. On paper, Stevenson would appear to have the edge in virtually every category. He’s fought the better opposition, shown the better boxing skills throughout his career and is touted as quite possibly a better fighter than the 50-0, Floyd Mayweather. At least according to promoter Bob Arum.
Caraballo will not only have to deal with the physical disadvantages, but also an unfamiliar setting. For the six year veteran, this will be his first fight outside of his native land of Puerto Rico as this contest is set to take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To make matters worse if Caraballo is able to pull off the massive upset, the win won’t award him with the WBO Featherweight title as this contest is set to take place at 130 pounds.
By all accounts, Stevenson will have the spotlight primarily shining upon him on the night. But in the case of Caraballo, without fans in attendance, the pressure will be taken off his shoulders without the rabid fanbase of Stevenson’s in the crowd.
Even with the star power that Stevenson has shown in the early part of his career, the co main event on the night was set to steal the show. Featherweight prospect Mikaela Mayer and the always durable contender Helen Joseph were set to take things to another level on the night. Unfortunately for Mayer however, she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and has been forced off the card entirely.
Still, even with some of the appeal stripped away from the event due to Mayer’s positive test, Stevenson will have the opportunity to have the entire sport of boxing fixated on his event tomorrow night. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.