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Shakur Stevenson says he “held his own” sparring Terence Crawford

Oscar Valdez, Shakur Stevenson boxing photo

By Chris Williams:  Shakur Stevenson says he “held his own” in sparring with Terence Crawford in preparation for this Saturday’s unification against Oscar Valdez.

Assuming WBO welterweight champion Crawford wasn’t holding back out of kindness for the smaller Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs), that’s quite an accomplishment for Shakur to spar him competitively.

Of course, Crawford is getting old, and it could be that even younger, smaller lions like Shakur are beginning to give him problems. Five years ago, it would have been hard for Stevenson to hold his own against Crawford, but not now.

If the 5’7″ Stevenson has now risen to the level where he’s sparring the 34-year-old Crawford to a standstill, it doesn’t bode well for WBC super featherweight champion Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) on Saturday night, does it?

WBO 130-lb champion Stevenson and WBC champion Valdez will be meeting this Saturday on ESPN+ and ESPN in a card starting at 10:00 p.m. ET at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Valdez is a highly experienced fighter that has fought in two Olympics and captured world titles in two weight classes during his ten-year professional career.

Stevenson has to be careful at all times against Valdez because he’s got greater power than him, and he’s accustomed to going to war with his opponents.

Valdez is coming off the worst performance of his career, defeating Robson Conceicao by a questionable 12-round unanimous decision in Tucson, Arizona. If Valdez can’t do any better than that on Saturday night, Shakur is going to school him badly in this fight.

“I’ve been fighting champion after champion. You got to understand that Valdez has been champion since I turned pro,” said Shakur Stevenson in a zoom conference call. “Valdez been defending his belts since I made my pro debut [in 2017.

“Right after going against Jamel Herring, I think I deserve to be on the pound-for-pound list,” said Stevenson. “Even though I’m not top of the list of the pound-for-pound, I deserve to be on the pound-for-pound.

“I’m not just cherry-picking fighters, I’m fighting fighters. I gained a lot. Just to know that I could hold my own with one of the best is a blessing,” said Shakur when asked what he gained sparring Terence Crawford.

“It definitely boosts my confidence to a higher level [sparring competitively with Crawford] because people like Oscar Valdez and people my weight and my size, they’re not on a level of a Terence Crawford. I definitely gained a lot of confidence from it and I feel good about it.

“Just tune in on April 30th. I’m ready to show the world what I’ve been trying to show them since the beginning of my career,” said Stevenson.

If Stevenson wins this fight against Oscar, he’s going to go after the IBF & WBA champions at super-featherweight.

Stevenson is short-changing himself by choosing to stay at 130 until he finishes his goal of becoming the undisputed champion. There’s more money & fame for Stevenson at 135 against fighters like Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, and Ryan Garcia.

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