In an effort to prove he’s one of the best in boxing, Shakur Stevenson put up the WBO Junior Lightweight Championship against WBC Champion Oscar Valdez in Saturday Night’s Big Unification Game in Las Vegas. Although the fight was the most dangerous of Stevenson’s career, he did a very easy job with Valdez, claiming a wide unanimous victory.
Valdez, a fighter known for a ruthless and aggressive approach to his bouts, spent much of the fight stuck in a neutral position, standing in front of Stevenson without letting go of his hands. This approach allowed Stevenson to employ a simple strategy of punches to set the straight left from his southern position.
Valdez had brief moments of success, sometimes being able to bully his way forward and throw bodily shots at the more skilled Stevenson. Those moments were few and far between, however, and it was often Stevenson whose shots of his body provided the most important work.
The fight’s biggest moment came in the eighth round, when Stevenson hit a right hook that injured Valdez. Seconds after the right hook, Valdez sent the ropes off. With the ropes holding him, he was condemned to a knockout, giving Stevenson a 10-8 round and some extra padding in a fight where he never needed it.
Valdez simply posed no real danger to Stevenson during the full 12 rounds, leaving the ring with a swollen and reddened face after absorbing round after round of crisp, clean shots.
In fact, perhaps the most dangerous moment of the night for Stevenson came when he interrupted his interview after the fight to propose to the mother of his young daughter in the middle of the ring. She said yes, giving Stevenson his second win one evening.
Final scorecards read 117-110, 118-109 and 118-109, all, unsurprisingly, of Stevenson.
When asked about his next step in the ring, Stevenson acknowledged his future could be a lightweight before saying the immediate concern was to collect two more junior lightweight belts.
“I’m a superstar in this sport,” Stephenson said. “Describe them, their name is. I’m ready for who… anyone. Any of the champions. I’m going to collect all the belts at 130 and become undisputed. I deserve to be a star.”
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