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Oscar Valdez vs. Shakur Stevenson in the works for April 30th on ESPN

Oscar Valdez, Shakur Stevenson boxing photo

By Dan Ambrose: Oscar Valdez vs.  Shakur Stevenson super featherweight unification fight is close to being done for April 30th on ESPN at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

This is the fight that WBO 130-lb champion Shakur (17-0, 9 KOs) hinted about last week on January 12th when he said this on Twitter:

My next opponent gone be a Big surprise.. P4P me pls.”

At the time, boxing fans believed that it would be Vasily Lomachenko that would be facing him at 135, and that got people excited. That would have been a 50-50 fight if not one that Lomachenko was favored.

But with it now being revealed by Dan Rafael that it’s Valdez vs. Stevenson, that’s one that will be more 80-20 in favor of Shakur.

Valdez has looked shaky in a number of his fights, particularly his recent one against Robson Conceicao last September in Tucson, Arizona.

Oscar Valdez, Shakur Stevenson boxing photo

Fans saw Valdez’s 12 round unanimous win over Conceicao as a robbery, as he appeared to lose to the Brazilian.

It was thought by a lot of people that Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) wouldn’t take the fight with Shakur because the impression some have is that Oscar is afraid of him.

But now that we’re hearing that the Valdez-Stevenson fight is close to being done, it looks like the critics were wrong.

It’s important that the judges don’t mess up the scoring for the Valdez vs. Shakur fight because the last thing boxing fans want to see is another controversial decision involving Oscar.

“Shakur, I think the fight for him is against Valdez. I’d love to get that fight done,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said to World Boxing News. “That’s what we’re looking to do, yeah. I think before the end of April.”

“Other people in the company are doing the negotiations and I don’t think there will be any roadblocks,” said Arum on the Valdez vs. Stevenson fight.

“Navarrete, there are a lot of guys he could fight but we’ll figure it out,” Arum said. “He can fight the winner (of Valdez-Stevenson).”

Having WBC 126-lb champion Emanuel Navarrete move up to 130 to take on the winner of the Stevenson vs. Valdez fight would be huge.

The 2016 Olympic silver medalist Stevenson is coming off a tenth round TKO win over WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring on October 23 in Atlanta.

That was Stevenson’s best performance of his short five-year professional career, considering he totally disarmed the lanky 5’10” Herring’s offense and battered him until getting a stoppage in the tenth.

On the negative side, Shakur was still using his boring pull-back style exclusively against Herring, making the fight unwatchable during long stretches.

It’s important that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum sit Shakur down and impress upon him the importance that he stop using his safety-first pull-back fighting style fan don’t want to watch fighters that hit and immediately retreat backward to avoid getting hit.

The way that Stevenson fights, it’s like the sport of fencing rather than boxing, and that style isn’t a popular one for U.S boxing fans.

It’ll be interesting to see the Valdez vs. Stevenson winner move up to the 135-lb division to take on Vasily Lomachenko, Gervonta Tank’ Davis, George Kambosos, or Devin Haney.

If Stevenson and Valdez choose to remain at 130, they’re going to limit their opportunities for big money fights because the super featherweight division is a dying one.

Top super featherweights:

  • Oscar Valdez
  • Shakur Stevenson
  • Chris Colbert
  • Miguel Berchelt
  • Roger Gutierrez
  • Shavkat Rakhimov
  • Abraham Nova
  • Jamel Herring

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