By: Sean Crose
Undefeated juggernaut Shakur Stevenson is headlining a pretty excellent main event on ESPN this evening as he puts his WBO junior lightweight title on the line against fellow juggernaut and WBC junior lightweight titlist Oscar Valdez’ (whose own title belt will be on the line, as well). It’s been mentioned that it’s nice to see a fight of this caliber not being placed on pay per view in order to sponge as much hard earned cash as possible from fight fans. And, in fact, it IS nice. Valdez-Stevenson is exactly what it’s being presented as – a high quality and relevant matchup between two top operators battling it out on basic cable.
The scheduled twelve rounder is set to go down at the MGM Grand in Vegas this evening. ESPN will be airing the Top Rank card starting at 10PM eastern. Shakur, who won a silver medal representing the United States at the 2016 Olympics has developmentally grown very nicely in recent years. There is no questioning this man’s skill set. His most recent ring performance, against the popular Jamel Herring in October, ended with a 10th round stoppage and Shakur taking possession of the WBO junior lightweight belt. Now 17-0, the native of New Jersey has become one of the more prominent names in the sport.
As for Valdez, the 35 year old Mexican has proven the naysayers wrong and is now enjoying huge success without a single blemish on his 30-0 resume. Here is a man who knows how to fight and who has defeated his share of notables, such as Scott Quigg and Miguel Berchelt, who he knocked out in 10 rounds back in February of 2021.Valdez’ last fight was a decision win over Robson Conceicao back in September. He’s nothing if not a worthy foe for the 24 year old Stevenson – and people shouldn’t be shocked Valdez pulls off the win this evening.
The 4-0 Keyshawn Davis will also be appearing on tonight’s card. The 24 year old Virginian will be facing the 18-1 Esteban Sanchez in a scheduled 8 rounder. Davis last saw action in December of last year when he stopped Jose Zaragoza in two. The 23 year old Sanchez was last in the ring back in October when he decisioned Sergio Osuna. Muhammad Ali’s grandson, the 4-0 Nico Ali Walsh will appear on Saturday’s card, as well, facing the 7-1 Alejandro Ibarra in a scheduled 4 round middleweight affair. Walsh’s last fight was a second round stoppage of Jeremiah Yeager in January. Ibarra was last spotted decisioning Tyler Pogline in early 2021.
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