Shakur Stevenson: “I Respect Canelo A lot, Andre (Ward) Would Be The Only Person I Would Say Right Now Could Beat Canelo”
By: Hans Themistode
Whether you hate or criticize Canelo Alvarez, the Mexican star is revered in the sport of boxing.
Although several fighters in or around his 168 pound weight class have attempted to chastise him, former WBO featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson has nothing but praise but for the pound-for-pound star.
“I’m a big Canelo fan,” said Stevenson during an interview with Fight Hype. “You’re not going to hear me say anything bad about Canelo.”
Stevenson’s refusal to throw any dirt on the name of Alvarez is due to the work he has done inside of the ring. With world titles in four different weight classes, Stevenson can’t help but get excited when describing the attributes and mentality of the unified super middleweight champion that makes him so special.
“Canelo goes up in weight and fights whoever, he goes back down in weight and fights whoever. He got real good skills and if we’re talking about the best defense in boxing, besides myself, I think Canelo is the best defensive fighter in boxing. Canelo uses a lot of waist movement. He knows how to make you miss with his waist. It’s a lot of good things that Canelo does as a fighter and I respect Canelo a lot.”
Alvarez, 30, is currently sitting in his presidential suite in a Miami hotel as he prepares to take on mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at the Hard Rock Hotel. Many, if not all, are expecting Alvarez to have a quick and easy night before moving on to face WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders and possibly IBF belt holder Caleb Plant.
But while Stevenson respects every single fighter who steps into the ring, he doesn’t believe any of those aforementioned names will hand Alvarez a loss.
No, to the 23-year-old, you would have to be an all-time great to beat Alvarez. Ironically enough, Stevenson just so happens to be close friends with one.
“The only fighters that will beat Canelo is the special and different kind of fighters. If Andre Ward was still boxing, I would say Dre would beat Canelo. Dre knows boxing. Canelo wins these fights because he’s more knowledgeable then a lot of these other fighters but Dre is really knowledgeable too and a great fighter. Andre would be the only person I would say right now that could beat Canelo.”
Currently, Ward has shown little to no interest in lacing up the gloves again. After closing the chapter on his rivalry with Sergey Kovalev by knocking him out in the eighth round of their 2017 contest, Ward subsequently closed the door on his career as he retired immediately after.
With an unbeaten record through 32 fights, world titles in two divisions and several big wins, Ward was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2020.
Still, at the age of 37, Ward continues to stay in good shape and is constantly in the gym. Both fans and boxing pundits have reiterated that they would love to see him return to the ring to take on Alvarez. Stevenson is amongst that very group. However, the window on that mega showdown is closing and if Ward doesn’t take the opportunity soon, then Stevenson believes he should just leave it alone.
“Yea as of right now,” said Stevenson when asked if Ward would beat Alvarez currently. “But Dre can’t take too much years off. It would have to be like right at this moment.”
Shakur Stevenson: “Terence Style Is Just A Really Bad Style for Shawn Porter”
By: Hans Themistode
Former WBO featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson continues to shake his head whenever a possible matchup between Shawn Porter and Terence Crawford is mentioned. With Porter holding the number one ranking in the WBO sanctioning body, the former welterweight belt holder is aiming to knock off Crawford and claim his belt as his own.
By and large, a matchup between the two is viewed as competitive and one that could go either way. To Stevenson on the other hand, he views their possible showdown as one-way traffic.
“Shawn Porter is a fighter who gives a lot of people problems,” said Stevenson during an interview with Fight Hype. “But in my opinion, styles make fights and Terence style is just a really bad style for Shawn Porter. Terence is a sharpshooter that likes to box, Shawn Porter runs in and tries to be ugly. I don’t think that’s a good style for Shawn Porter to try and fight Terence with.”
Although Stevenson has a hard time envisioning Porter giving Crawford any sort of trouble, he did admit that Porter is rugged and as tough as they come. In fact, Stevenson went as far as to say that Porter will find moments of success. However, those moments will be few and far between.
“He’s going to get some punches in don’t get me wrong. Shawn Porter is tough and a really good fighter but I just think Terence is faster than Shawn. He’s also a better and bigger puncher than Shawn. I just think it’s a bad style for Shawn.”
Regardless of whether or not a Shawn Porter vs Terence Crawford showdown is as one-sided as Stevenson believes it will be, most of the boxing world simply wants to see Crawford step into the ring against elite competition.
Despite having three losses on his resume, Porter proved that even in defeat he can give a fighter hell for a full 36 minutes. After losing a close split decision to Spence Jr. in September of 2019, Porter bounced right back with an easy win over Sebastian Formella this past August.
Following the win, almost a day hasn’t gone by where Porter hasn’t called out Crawford. At the moment, both sides are still working on the financial part of a deal while also exploring other options.
If everything can be worked out, then Porter will easily be viewed as the best fighter Crawford has faced as a 147 pounder. Yet, that statement makes absolutely no sense to Stevenson. The last time he checked, Crawford just knocked out Kell Brook a mere three months ago.
Brook, of course, outboxed Porter in 2014 to win the IBF title. To the former featherweight belt holder, the math just doesn’t add up to Porter being the toughest opponent of Crawford’s career.
“Can’t say that’s his toughest fight when he just fought Kell Brook, somebody that outboxed Shawn Porter as easy as possible.”
Steven’s words might technically be true, but many believe Brook was smack-dab in the middle of his prime at that time. Now, at the of 34 and several stoppage losses to his name, the British native simply isn’t the same fighter he used to be.
Still, for Stevenson, his point is the same. It doesn’t matter who is in the ring with Crawford, just do yourself a favor and avoid him for as long as humanly possible.
“A lot of people need to leave Terence alone, he’s a helluva fighter. Terence is a savage man.”
Shakur Stevenson: “I’m The Boogeyman In The Sport Of Boxing”
By: Hans Themistode
The big punchers are normally the ones that everyone is afraid of. The reason is simple, with one shot, they can separate their opponents from their consciousness.
Be that as it may, former featherweight belt holder Shakur Stevenson believes he is now the most avoided man in all of boxing. It isn’t because the Newark, New Jersey, native is one of the hardest hitters in the entire sport, but rather, his skills are seemingly too sublime for anyone else to take a chance in facing him.
“I be doing everything in my power to get these bigger name guys in the ring,” said Stevenson on his Twitter account. “All seriousness I’m the boogeyman in the sport of boxing.”
Although Stevenson’s career just started a little over three years ago, the 23-year-old has clamored for his shot on the big stage. During his short featherweight title reign, Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) attempted to unify titles with fellow champions Josh Warrington as well as Gary Russell Jr. Despite his pleas though, Stevenson’s efforts were of no avail.
Recently, the former 2016 Olympic Silver medalist, dropped his featherweight title due to the lack of big-name opponents as well as a still maturing body, in order to chase his second world title in as many weight classes.
As of now, Stevenson holds the mandatory position for the WBO super featherweight world title. Still, even with another championship seemingly around the corner, Stevenson has continued to demand much more established fighters take him on in the ring. In the opinion of the young star, no one either in his weight class or even in the same ballpark, has ever mentioned his name and he doesn’t see that changing any time soon.
“Let’s be real what big-name fighter even mentioning my name at or around my weight? I’m the truth. I can’t wait to show the ones who still don’t believe it.”
Bob Arum: “Shakur Stevenson Mark My Words Will Eventually Be The Face Of Boxing”
By: Hans Themistode
At this moment, very few will argue that Canelo Alvarez is the face of boxing. That may be good and well, however, his name at the top of virtually every pound for pound list and billboard across the world will soon be replaced according to promoter Bob Arum.
“Shakur Stevenson mark my words will eventually be the face of boxing,” said Arum during an interview with IFL TV.
Ever since making his pro debut in 2017, Arum hasn’t stopped gushing over the former 2016 Olympic silver medalist. The normal slow pace of a prospect was immediately sped up as Stevenson won his first world title in his second year and 13th fight. Now, just one year later, Stevenson is attempting to reel in his second title in just as many weight classes.
Landing a punch on the 23-year-old has become nearly impossible as his defensive abilities are always on display. During his short, yet successful career, Stevenson has been compared to some of the best to ever step foot inside of a ring such as Floyd Mayweather.
Having spent numerous years working with Mayweather, Arum understands the comparisons but he also believes Stevenson is beyond even the newly inducted hall of famer.
“He is a tremendous talent. At this stage in his career he’s better even than Floyd Mayweather was at the same stage and we promoted Floyd for ten and a half years.”
While Stevenson has continued to put in the work in the gym, those who he has surrounded himself with have helped mold him into who he is today. Arum in turn, has taken notice of his supporting cast and has heaped praise upon every single one them.
“I’m really thrilled with Shakur, I like the people around him. The trainer, his grandfather, the manager. Everyone is working together to make Shakur the superstar that he will be.”
Shakur Stevenson On Vasiliy Lomachenko’s Loss To Teofimo Lopez: “He Was Afraid To Step Into The Lion’s Den, A Scared Fighter Can’t Beat Me”
By: Hans Themistode
Any talks of Teofimo Lopez’s size as the main factor behind his career-defining win over former unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko will be met immediately with a disgusted look from Shakur Stevenson. Lopez, a 5-1 underdog, outboxed and outworked Lomachenko in late October to become the youngest undisputed champion in boxing history.
Outside of a height and reach deficit against Lopez, Lomachenko himself has admitted on numerous occasions that fighting at 135 pounds places him at a size disadvantage on most nights. So while many have rightly pointed at the disparity in measurements between the two, for Stevenson, it wasn’t about the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.
“I disagree that just because Teo was bigger that it was the reason he won,” said Stevenson on Max on Boxing. “With that fight, I feel like it had a lot to do with heart. I feel like Lomachenko is a great fighter but I feel like he didn’t have the heart that night to dare to be great.”
Through six perplexing rounds for Lomachenko, the former multiple division titlist kept his hands in his pockets as he refused to engage with Lopez. His early-round tactics were particularly surprising considering the bad blood between the two throughout the build up.
The tentative game plan of Lomachenko switched however, the moment the second half of their contest came rolling by. The Ukrainian product found it much easier to let his hands go and was rewarded as he tagged his man repeatedly. Lomachenko’s new-found aggression coincided with Lopez losing steam on his punches during the later rounds. The strategy he implored may have allowed him to climb back into the fight, but for Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs), he viewed it as more cowardly than anything else.
“I feel like you can’t go in no fight for six rounds straight and not throw no punches at all. That’s not how you dare to be great. You got a power puncher in front of you and great fighter also. You got to step into the lion’s den and I think he was afraid to step into the lion’s den.”
Competing at 135, although he’s done so for several years, might be a thing of the past for Lomachenko as a drop in weight could be imminent. If that is in fact the route he decides to take, Stevenson would welcome him with open arms and clenched fists.
While on paper the two are similar in size and skill, what lies on the inside will be the biggest difference.
“A fighter who doesn’t dare to be great and don’t have that kind of heart doesn’t have a chance with me. A scared fighter can’t beat me. I don’t think it would be good for him to come off that loss and get in the ring with a Shakur Stevenson. I feel like I’m a go in there and beat him up because he has heart problems.”
Shakur Stevenson Bagels Toka Khan Clary On The Judges Scorecards
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson was apoplectic as he watched his peers from the sidelines. The former WBO featherweight titlist sat back as Teofimo Lopez became the youngest undisputed champion in boxing history. He also stood by and took in the sights as Gervonta Davis continued to become a star with his win over Leo Santa Cruz.
Tonight however, it was his turn.
With the final slot in Top Rank’s boxing schedule all his, Stevenson made sure he didn’t waste it as he completely outclassed Toka Khan Clary. Although he was heavily favored, Stevenson expressed admiration for the skills of his opponent and vowed to take him seriously. He also promised to deliver a one-sided beating, something he did from the opening bell.
Clary came out popping his jab and showing that Stevenson wasn’t the only with a bit of speed in his hands. None connected however, as Stevenson simply smiled and continued to march forward. Clary would soon find himself playing defense as Stevenson continually snapped his head back with jabs.
Nothing in the offensive arsenal of Clary deterred Stevenson from doing what he wanted, when he wanted on the night.
If you witnessed one round, then you witnessed them all as they were virtually identical. Stevenson came behind a fairly low guard, avoided the offense of his man and made him pay for even thinking he could land a shot on him.
It was the ideal way for Stevenson to end his 2020 as all three judges scoring the contest gave him every round. The next step for the former 2016 US Olympian will be a date with one of the titleholders at 130 pounds. Stevenson was adamant about wanting to face the winner between WBO belt holder Jamel Herring and former multiple division titlist Carl Frampton. He has also set his sights on WBC champion Miguel Berchelt as well.
Shakur Stevenson Wants His Mandated Title Shot Against Jamel Herring: “I Can’t Turn Down No Title Shot”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has never been afraid to step into the ring with anyone. But in the case of WBO lightweight titlist Jamel Herring, Stevenson has been reluctant.
Over the years, both fighters have grown to respect and admire each other. They’ve aided one another in terms of fight preparations and share the same inner circle. With Stevenson recently vacating his WBO 126 pound title to make the lightweight division his new home, he was thrust into the number one ranking for the Herring’s world title. But just a few months ago, Stevenson didn’t sound like a man who was willing to take his mandated title shot.
“The thing with that is I will fight Jamel if I have no other choice but to fight him,” said Stevenson to BoxingScene.com not long ago. “We work with the same people. Bo-Mac, Red, they help me out a lot, also. So, I’m not gonna get on record and call out Jamel Herring because me and him are real tight. Like, we all are locked in with the same people.”
At 130 pounds, Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) could be matched up with several notable names, but none of them would bring him an immediate world title. The New Jersey native is currently ranked number one in the WBO, number two in the WBC and isn’t ranked in the top ten in the WBA and IBF.
So while he cherishes his friendship with Herring, he cherishes the word champion next to his name a little bit more.
“I’m still cool with Jamel and Bo-Mac and everybody in his camp and everything. Ain’t no hard feelings or nothing, but it’s business,” said Stevenson during a recent interview with Boxingscene.com. “At the end of the day, me and him, we’ve gotta fight each other. It’s the fight business. It’s all business at the end of the day.”
Business is exactly what Herring is thinking of at the moment as well. After winning by sloppy disqualification during his last ring outing against Jonathan Oquendo earlier this year, Herring is lining up the biggest and most lucrative contest of his career against former two division titlist Carl Frampton.
Even though Stevenson knows how much Herring has been looking forward to that showdown, he isn’t going to sit back and allow it to happen.
“The WBO is ordering him to make his mandatory, and I’m his mandatory. I can’t turn down no title shot. It’s an opportunity to become a two-weight division world champ,” Stevenson said. “In only 15 fights, I don’t know who else has done that, especially at my age. So, I think it’s an amazing opportunity and I’m just ready to take advantage of it.”
In terms of how things would play out in a possible matchup between the two, Stevenson didn’t sound worried about their shared workout history. Just like every other contest in his short career, the former Olympic Silver medalist believes it’ll be just another walk in the park.
“I think it would be just like any other fight,” Stevenson said. “ I think that there’s levels. My level is higher than anybody in the 130-pound weight class. I’m just on a whole different level.”
Shakur Stevenson: “I just Feel Like I’m The Best Of The Next Generation”
By: Hans Themistode
Following each and every spectacular performance by one of the newer names in the sport of boxing, the coronation horns begin to blow. Whether it’s Devin Haney out boxing his opponents until he brutally knocks them out or Gervonta Davis wasting no time as he quickly sends his opponents off on a stretcher, thoughts of who will become the future of boxing quickly becomes the topic of conversation’s.
While the arguments ensue, somewhere in the New Jersey area, a heavy bag is being pummeled as a silver medal next to a gold world title belt sits as the only spectators.
Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) always finds questions such as who will become the face of boxing pointless as the answer is as obvious.
“I just feel like I’m the best of the next generation,” said Stevenson to Fight Hype. “I feel like I’m going to take over soon. Right now I just feel like I’m ahead of everybody.”
For as much as Stevenson wants to separate himself for his young contemporaries, the comparisons have persisted. But while he doesn’t throw shade at any of their skillsets, he does see plenty of holes in their games. A problem the 22 year old doesn’t believe he has.
“If you look at all of these young fighters, there’s something that they can’t do. You can point out some stuff that they can’t do. I feel like you can’t point out anything in my game that I can’t do. I’m not a one dimensional big power puncher. I can box, I can bang and I just win. I go in there and win.”
Win and dominate while doing so is something that Stevenson has done his entire life. Most observers have agreed that he is in fact a future star, but calling him a mere “star” just wasn’t good enough for promoter Bob Arum.
“I look at him as the southpaw version of Floyd Mayweather,” said Arum during an interview several months ago. ”I think he will exceed the performances by Floyd. He’s a rare, rare talent.”
Comparing Stevenson to the consensus best boxer of his generation is the greatest compliment Arum could bestow upon anyone. But for the former 126 pound belt holder, calling him a pure boxer is still selling him short.
“I just feel like I can do it all. If you watched my last fight I threw a lot of punches and stood in the pocket. I banged a little bit but if you want to sit on the inside all day then I can fight. That’s what people don’t understand about me, I can fight and I can do it all. Me at my best, I feel like I’m better than everybody.”
Oscar Valdez on Facing Miguel Berchelt Over Shakur Stevenson: “He is a Way Tougher Fight Than Shakur Stevenson”
By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) has never been known for dodging the competition, or folding when the going gets tough. In a 2018 matchup against Scott Quigg, Valdez broke his jaw early in the contest but managed to push through and hold on to his WBO featherweight world title.
That performance, coupled with his action packed fighting style, made him a fan favorite. So it came as a surprise once Valdez began to hear the word “duck” associated with his name.
In 2019, the former WBO belt holder was staring at a mega showdown with the highly touted Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs). Instead of taking on his mandatory in Stevenson however, Valdez opted to move up in weight. Now, he finds himself in line to face current WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs).
Although Valdez has always kept his head down and tuned out the noise, he admitted that this time around, it annoyed him.
“I was a little bothered,” said Valdez in an interview with Fight Hub. “People were thinking that I moved up a division because I was ducking Shakur Stevenson. I’m trying to face Miguel Berchelt.”
While Valdez moved up and made himself feel at home at 130 pounds, Stevenson began decorating his new residence at 126. The former Olympic silver medalist took home the newly vacated featherweight title and began to make his presence known. However, after a short reign, Stevenson has decided to move up to 130 pounds. He immediately placed his eyes on Valdez. The former WBO belt holder is receptive to the idea, but he believes a win over Berchelt will be a bigger feather in his cap.
“I personally think he is a way tougher fight than Shakur Stevenson,” explained Valdez. “He’s a harder puncher, he’s a natural 130 pounder and he’s knocking all of these guys out. If I was scared to fight somebody then you would think it would be Miguel Berchelt. I’m not scared to fight any fighter, especially Shakur Stevenson. He’s a great fighter, very technical fighter. Olympic Silver medalist, so there’s nothing bad I can say about him.”
At the moment, Valdez already has his future mapped out. If things go how he believes they will, then a showdown with Stevenson is something that he isn’t running from.
“Right now I have Jayson Velez next. If everything happens the way I want it, which is win against Velez, then I fight for the title and win, then if he’s right there and I’m pretty sure he is going to be mandatory, then I have no problem fighting Shakur. I truly have no problem fighting anybody.”
What’s Next For Shakur Stevenson?
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson told the press exactly what was going to happen in his matchup against Felix Caraballo. “I see a lot of holes in his game,” said Stevenson during a media call before his fight. “I’m going to expose him.”
Stevenson did just that.
Forget about the phrase “throwing the kitchen sink,” Stevenson threw every piece of furniture that he has at Caraballo. And it worked. Stopping his man in the sixth round due to a body shot.
Before Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) even stepped into the ring, a win was a formality. So now that he’s kept the COVID-19 inducing ring rust off, where does he go next? Keep reading to find out.
For most of Josh Warrington’s (30-0, 7 KOs) career, it was his gritty style and never quit attitude that made him a fan favorite. He wasn’t the most talented fighter around, but he always found a way to win. Those sort of fighters always make for a good story, but seldom do they develop into one of the best fighters in the world.
In the case of Warrington though, that is exactly what happened. His majority decision victory over Kiko Martinez in 2017 turned a few heads. But it was his wins over Lee Selby and Carl Frampton one year later, that made everyone take notice at what they were looking at. He is a bonafide great fighter and has the sort of will power that won’t allow him to quit.
The argument could be made that he is the best fighter in the Featherweight division. However, whenever the words “best fighter” is used and Shakur Stevenson’s name isn’t brought up, he’s going to take umbrage to it.
The two have been in discussion to take each other’s 0 since early last year. Before Stevenson’s one sided beatdown of Caraballo, promoter Bob Arum mentioned that he will absolutely attempt to make their unification contest a reality.
Gary Russell Jr
For as great as WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russel Jr. is, he has a tendency of staying out of the ring for long stretches. Reason being is no one wants to fight him. At least according to Russell (31-1, 18 KOs). For the past 6 years, Russell has competed inside of the ring just one time on average. It isn’t much, but when he does show up, he always leaves a lasting impression.
The WBC belt holder hasn’t exactly heard his name mentioned by any of the other big name fighters. Call it a lack of interest, or a fear of losing, the point remains the same. Not many fighters are itching to face Russell. But Shakur Stevenson isn’t like many fighters.
“That would be a hell of fight, me and Gary,” said Stevenson before his fight with Caraballo. “I really believe we are the two most skillful fighters in the division. That would be a hell of a fight.”
If boxing fans had their way, then this would be the matchup that happens next.
ESPN Boxing Results: Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo Full Card Results
Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo
Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) did not disappoint those who tuned in to watch his fight against Felix Caraballo (13-2-2, 9 KOs). Stevenson started off hot with a quick knockdown in the first down courtesy of a body shot.
The beating only worsened as the contest continued. Half way through the sixth round, after taking a ridiculous amount of punishment, Caraballo was dropped for the final time in the sixth round thanks to a body shot once again.
Referee Tony Weeks called an end to the contest and awarded Stevenson with the win. Not only did Stevenson win, but with boxing officially back, the sport won as well.
Jared Anderson vs Johnnie Langston
Jared Anderson (4-0, 4 KOs) looked sharp tonight against journeyman Johnnie Langston (8-3, 3 KOs). Seemingly everything that Anderson threw not only landed, but also hurt his man.
The first two rounds were all Anderson. The third and final round was an even better display. It was as if he Anderson was tired of being in the ring tonight and simply wanted to close the show. He did exactly that as he pummeled Langston in the corner until the referee called off the match.
Guido Vianello vs Don Haynesworth
It was a quick night Guido Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs) as he destroyed Don Haynesworth (16-4-1, 14 KOs) in the very first round.
It was an over hand right that did all of the damage for Vianello, as Haynesworth went crashing down to the canvas. Before he could fully make it back to his feet the referee stepped in and stopped the contest.
Quatavious Cash vs Calvin Metcalf
It was a hard day at the office for Quatavious Cash (12-2, 7 KOs) as he took home a technical decision over Calvin Metcalf (10-4-1, 3 KOs). The scorecards were wide in the favor of Cash as the judges scored the bout 60-54, 60-55 and 59-55 but Metcalf pushed the pace all night long.
An early head butt opened up a nasty cut for Metcalf who kept pushing forward no matter how much blood streamed down his face. In the sixth and final round, the ring doctor called an end to the contest and the judges scorecards were called into play. It was an easy call for Cash as he was a unanimous decision.
Robeisy Ramirez vs Yeuri Andujar
Robeisy Ramirez (3-1, 3 KOs) continued to prove that the loss he suffered in his pro debut was nothing more than a fluke.
It took Ramirez just a few seconds into the first round before he floored his opponent Yeuri Andujar (5-4, 3 KOs). He staggered back to his feet but soon tasted the canvas yet again. Referee Tony Weeks called a halt to the contest shortly after. It took Ramirez only 54 seconds to get the job done in boxing’s return to action.
Shakur Stevenson on Oscar Valdez: “He Knows I Would Beat Him Easily”
By: Hans Themistode
Looking ahead is never a good thing in boxing. Especially when you have an opponent standing right in front of you. Later on tonight, Shakur Stevenson will see what it feels like to fight in another weight class. The WBO Featherweight titlist is dipping his toe in the Super Featherweight division in his contest against Felix Caraballo.
According to oddsmakers, Stevenson is expected to win handily as he’s been tabbed as high as a 75-1 favorite. Meaning, in order to win $100 on Stevenson, you would have to wager a mere $7,500. In short, this is Stevenson’s fight to lose.
If the WBO belt holder does what most expect him to do, which it is dominate, then a showdown with Oscar Valdez could be in his not so distant future. Stevenson fought his way to the mandatory position to Valdez and his WBO strap. Instead of taking on Stevenson, Valdez dropped the belt and headed over to the Super Featherweight division. Stevenson didn’t sweat his decision though, winning the vacant title against Joet Gonzalez shortly after.
The two may not have been able to step into the ring against one another at 126 pounds, but now that they both currently reside at 130, Stevenson has an eye on him.
“I think Valdez is another one who knows my style isn’t for him,” Stevenson told BoxingScene.com. “I think he knows me and him don’t mix. He knows I would beat him easily. I think he knows that, but he just said in an interview that he wasn’t ducking me. He said everyone thinks that’s what it is, but he’s not ducking me. He’s going for Berchelt first and stuff like that. So, we’ll see when the time comes.”
Before Stevenson jumps to the head of the Oscar Valdez line, Miguel Berchelt will get the first crack at him. The two were on course to face off in May of this year for Berchelt’s WBC title. Of course, like every other boxing event over the past three months though, COVID-19 had other plans.
Now that the business of boxing is picking back up, they are now back on track for a showdown this year. A date is not definitively set in stone, but promoter Bob Arum has recently revealed to Boxingscene.com that the two will clash later on this year.
Both Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) and Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) give a whole new meaning to the term “throwing leather.” Throughout the course of their careers, they’ve shown that they can give just as much as they can take. Which makes picking a winner that much more difficult for Stevenson.
“I think that Berchelt will win because he’s bigger and stronger than Valdez,” Stevenson said. “But Valdez might surprise people. It really depends with them two who lands the best punch, because they both will be throwing bombs. I don’t know that Berchelt’s defense is that good, and Valdez throws a lot of power punches. I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”
Shakur Stevenson Will Be Without Head Trainer Kay Koroma Due to COVID-19 Safety Measures
By: Hans Themistode
WBO Featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson will not only step into the ring tonight without the support of his fans, but also without the guidance of his head trainer Kay Koroma.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) banned Koroma from working Stevenson’s corner due to his role as the assistant coach to Mikaela Mayer. According to the NSAC, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 can and will be removed from the event.
Mayer, an undefeated Featherweight prospect who was due to take on Helen Joseph in the co main event, recently tested positive for the virus and was forced off the card. Koroma tested negative for the virus this past Saturday, but he did have direct contact with Mayer throughout her training camp.
That direct contact has given the NSAC no other choice but to remove him from Stevenson’s corner entirely.
“Typically, when a person in any camp tests positive, the contact tracing takes place,” Bob Bennett, the NSAC’s executive director, told ESPN.com. “And if it’s revealed that the person tested positive from contact tracing was in contact with that person, then obviously they could be asymptomatic, and they would be removed from the event as well.”
Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) was disappointed to say the least. But, a worldwide pandemic, nor his opponent Felix Caraballo or even Koroma not working his corner will stop him from putting on a show.
“I’m disappointed that he won’t be able to be in my corner. But I am fully focused and locked in on tomorrow night,” said Stevenson. I will put on another great show on ESPN.”
Taking over for Koroma will be Edward Jackson. While Stevenson would rather have Koroma handling his every move inside of the ring, he will have a familiar face in his Grandfather, Wali Moses, helping him every step of the way.
Following the event, Stevenson, along with every other participant on the night will test for the virus shortly after.
Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo: Fight Preview
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.
Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo Weigh-in Results
By: Hans Themistode
Things felt a bit different during the weigh-ins for Shakur Stevenson’s contest against Felix Caraballo. There were no screaming fans in attendance, nor were there several media members ready to bombard the fighters with nonstop questions. No, it was simply Stevenson, his opponent and a few select personnel at today’s weigh-ins.
Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs) was the first to step on to the scale. He walked onto the stage wearing a mask and protective covering for his sneakers as to not make full contact with the scale. The contracted weight between them was 130 pounds, although Stevenson holds the WBO title at 126 pounds. Even with the extra four pounds though, Caraballo still managed to miss weight, coming in at 130.5. He attempted to step back onto the scale a second time but there was no change in weight.
As for Stevenson, he had a few issues with weight of his own. At least initially. Bob Bennet, of the Nevada State Athletic Commission yelled out 130.2 pounds, a number that Stevenson was incredulous to. He immediately stripped off his socks and jumped back onto the scale. This time, he came in at 130 pounds even.
From there, fighters normally pose next to one another for pictures, before facing off. This time around however, things were a bit different. Both fighters flashed their physique and smiled, but they made sure to keep their distance.
The customary face off’s in which fighters are given the opportunity to either intimidate or size up their opponents one final time before fight night was nonexistent. Instead, they simply walked in opposite directions of one another as if to say they are fully prepared for their contest.
As for the rest of the card, the results of their weigh-ins were as followed.
Jared Anderson 236. 5 pounds (3-0, 3 KOs) vs Johnnie Langston 218 pounds (8-2, 3 KOs)
Guido Vianello 239 pounds (6-0, 6 KOs) vs Don Haynesworth 294.5 pounds (16-3-1, 14 KOs)
Robeisy Ramirez 126 pounds (2-1, 2 KOs) vs Year Andujar 125.5 pounds (5-3, 3 KOs)
Calvin Metcalf 158.3 pounds (10-3-1 3 KOs) Quatavious Cash 160.5 pounds (11-2, 7 KOs)