Shakur Stevenson vs. Christopher Diaz on April 20 on Crawford-Khan card on ESPN PPV
By Jim Dower: 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs) will be facing the hard hitting Christopher Diaz (24-1, 16 s) on the undercard of the Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan card on April 20 on ESPN PPV at Madison Square Garden in New York, according to ESPN. The Stevenson vs. Diaz fight is in the process of being finalized for the Crawford-Khan card.
Stevenson vs. Diaz is a good fight that will give boxing fans a gauge to see whether Shakur will pan out in the pro ranks. Stevenson is a good combination puncher, but he lacks punching power and blazing hand speed. Stevenson looks talented, but he’s not shown the type of ability that suggests that he’s going to be the next superstar. Stevenson was beaten in the 2016 Olympics by Cuban Robeisy Ramirez, who looked like the superior fighter. Ramirez hasn’t turned pro unfortunately.
Diaz, 24, was previously scheduled to fight former WBO super bantamweight champ Jessie Vargas on March 17 on ESPN+, but Top Rank gave him a better offer for him to step up against a very good fighter in 21-year-old Stevenson for the April 20th Crawford-Khan card on ESPN PPV. It’s important that Top Rank adds a couple of quality undercard fights to get the boxing public willing to part with their money to purchase the card. The problem is Crawford isn’t a PPV guy, and his opponent, former IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Khan (33-3, 20 KOs) hasn’t done anything with his career since his two losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia in 2011 and 2012. Normally, PPV fights involve two guys that are at the top, and who are both looking great. Khan is not at the top. He’s living off of his past accomplishments, which were many years ago.
Last July, Diaz lost to Masayuki Ito by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision in a one-sided fight. It was a surprise to a lot of boxing fans seeing Diaz lose that fight, being that he was viewed as a sure thing winner by a lot of people going into it. Ito exposed a lot of holes in Diaz’s game in that fight. Diaz rebounded from that loss to beat journeyman David Berna (17-6, 16 KOs) by a 1st round knockout on November 24.
Jessie Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) will be facing former WBA super bantamweight champion Rico Ramos (30-5, 14 KOs) on on March 17. That should be an interesting fight. Magdaleno can punch. His only loss came at the hands of the talented Isaac Dogboe last April. Magdaleno, 27, was doing well in the early rounds of that fight before the superior conditioning of Dogboe took over in the second half of the fight.
One reason that might account for Dogboe taking over the fight in the second half of the contest is the fact that he didn’t dehydrate a massive amount of weight to make weight for the fight. Unlike Magdaleno, Dogboe fights at close to his natural weight, so he didn’t need to drain himself to make the 122 lb weigh-in limit. Magdaleno looked huge after he rehydrated for the fight, but when he failed to overpower the smaller Dogboe with his size and strength in the first half of the contest, he wore out in the second half of the fight and ended up getting stopped.