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Shakur Stevenson ready to replace Berchelt against Oscar Valdez on Dec.12

Miguel Berchelt Oscar Valdez Shakur Stevenson

By Chris Williams: Shakur Stevenson is volunteering to step in and save Top Rank’s December 12th card by taking on Oscar Valdez after Miguel Berchelt pulled out of the fight after testing positive for COVID-19 this week.

Promoter Bob Arum will be the one to decide whether former WBO featherweight champion Shakur (14-0, 8 KOs) will be given the green light to face the two-time Olympian Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs).

Arum won’t sign off on a Vargas vs. Stevenson fight because there won’t be a world title on the line. Whether intentional or not, Valdez, 29, was quick to vacate his World Boxing Organization 126-lb title when Stevenson was on his doorstep in the rankings.

Rather than fight the 2016 Olympic silver medalist Stevenson, Valdez vacated his WBO featherweight title and moved up to 130. Since moving up in weight, Valdez has two fights against low-level opposition in Adam Lopez and Jayson Velez.

Oscar Valdez hasn’t looked impressive at 130

Valdez didn’t look impressive in either of those fights, and it appears he still has a chin issue dating back to his fight against Miguel Marriaga in 2017.

Miguel Berchelt Oscar Valdez Shakur Stevenson

Before fighting the hard-hitting Marriaga, Valdez used his slugging ability to steamroll his opponents one by one. But he was hurt against Marriaga, and his punch resistance doesn’t look the same ever since.

Chris Williams will predict that Arum isn’t going to let Stevenson, 23, anywhere near Valdez in this lifetime. I’ll go one further. Arum won’t let Stevenson face Berchelt either because he’s too good for both guys, and Arum won’t want to see their value to his Top Rank company be diminished after they lose to Stevenson.

Arum will likely have Valdez take a soft stay busy fight while he waits for WBC super featherweight champion Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) to recover from the COVID 19.

If this were a regular flu, it would make sense for Valdez to wait until Berchelt recovers before fighting again. But this thing is a different type of animal, and there’s a chance that Berchelt might be sick for a while before he recovers.

Berchelt should take a tune-up

What Berchelt doesn’t need is to take on a tough fighter like Valdez in his first fight back from an illness like that. It would be better for Berchelt to take a tune-up as well to make sure he’s 100% before getting in there with a tough competitor like Valdez.

Berchelt, 28, is supposed to be moving up to lightweight soon, perhaps after he faces Valdez. It might be better if Berchelt moves up in weight in his next fight and focus on going after the big names.

Miguel Berchelt Oscar Valdez Shakur Stevenson

If Arum keeps Valdez and Berchelt apart, he can have two revenue streams with them rather than one. You have to believe that Berchelt will take advantage of Valdez’s chin issues and knock him out within six rounds.

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