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Shakur Stevenson vs. Oscar Mendoza on Dec.9

By Tim Royner: 2016 Olympic U.S silver medalist Shakur Stevenson will be fighting next month on December 9 against Oscar Mendoza in 6-round fight on the undercard of the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux fight at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The unbeaten featherweight prospect Stevenson (3-0, 1 KOs) will be looking to stay perfect against the 26-year-old Mexican Mendoza (4-2, 2 KOs) on the ESPN card.

The promoters at Top Rank are really high on the 20-year-old Stevenson, and they believe him to be a star in the making in the future. It’s still too early to tell whether he’ll achieve the greatness they believe. The featherweight and super featherweight divisions are stacked with talented fighters with amazing boxing ability and tons of heart. If Stevenson fails to rise up to the top of those 2 divisions, it won’t be reflection on his lack of ability. It’ll be more of a case of those divisions being packed with fighters with the same kind of talent that Stevenson possesses, but with more punching power.

Stevenson’s lack of power may ultimately hinder his success. He’s not much of a puncher, which means he’s going to have to win his fights the hard way by grinding out decisions. It’s not easy winning decisions against guys with power, speed and talent. Stevenson will have to work on his power and his defense if he wants to rise up to one day and become a champion.

Stevenson was narrowly beaten by Cuban Robeisy Ramirez in the finals of the 2016 Olympics. Ramirez had a little too much offensive fire power for Stevenson. There’s no shame in Stevenson losing to Ramirez, as he’s a special talent and he’s now won 2 Olympic gold medals for Cuba. Only 24, Ramirez has an excellent chance of winning a third gold medal in the 2020 Olympics. You can bet that Top Rank would love to have Robeisy Ramirez as part of their promotional team, as he’s got the skills to become a world champion right away. He’s not someone that Top Rank would need to groom over many years like Shakur Stevenson. Ramirez is ready right now to become a world champion.

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In other fights on the undercard, heavyweight Bryant Jennings (20-2, 11 KOs) will be battling 35-year-old Don Haynesworth (13-1-1, 11 KOs) in an 8-round fight. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is trying to get a title shot for the 33-year-old Jennings in the future. If Arum can rebuild Jennings enough for a title shot against heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, he could get a big payday in that fight.

Other fights on the December 9th card, unbeaten featherweight Christopher Diaz (21-0, 13 KOs) will be battling Casey Ramos (24-1, 6 KOs) in a 10 round fight.

2016 Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (3-0, 1 KOs) will be fighting Steven Ortiz (7-0, 2 KOs) in an 8 round fight. The 26-year-old Gaibnazarov is fighting in the light welterweight division right now, and he’s someone that might turn out to be a better pro than Shakur Stevenson. Gaibnazarov’s fighting style if more suited to the pros, as he has better power and he’s able to stand and trade with his opponents without having to concentrate solely on defense.

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