Edwin De Los Santos is hoping that favorite Shakur Stevenson attempts to knock him out on Thursday night because his objective is to entertain the fans watching on ESPN at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The last thing De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) wants is to bore the public because he wants to leave a lasting favorable impression.
(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)
It’s fair to say that if Shakur Stevenson can’t keep this dangerous knockout artist De Los Santos off him, he’s going to get exposed again as fans witnessed in his loss to Robeisy Ramirez in the 2016 Olympics.
What Shakur & his promoters at Top Rank can ill afford is another performance like he put in against Jeremiah Nakathilia in 2021.
Nakathilia landed some big shots early in the fight, which resulted in Shakur fighting scared from the fourth round. It was a similar performance from Shakur to the one he put in against the Cuban Robeisy.
Shakur must make it entertaining
Top Rank has likely let Shakur know the importance of him showing bravery in this fight because there will be many casual fans tuning in to watch the fight on ESPN, and the last thing he needs is to produce another safety-first performance like he did against Robeisy & Nakathilia.
Shakur (20-0, 10 KOs) & De Los Santos will be fighting for the vacant WBC lightweight title in the headliner on Thursday night. This event is expected to be watched by many casual boxing fans, as it’s taking place during Formula One Grand Prix week in Las Vegas.
De Los Santos got the gig because none of the higher-ranked contenders in the WBC’s top 10 were interested in facing the defensive artist Shakur Stevenson, who is difficult to hit and is always ready to retreat to avoid getting hit.
The powerful De Los Santos points out that defense doesn’t win fights, and he will ensure that his offense is superior to what the finesse-oriented Stevenson offers.
It would be in De Los Santos’s best interest to try to score a knockout because Shakur is the A-side and is being given a huge push by his promoters at Top Rank.
They believe Shakur is the next superstar in the lightweight division, but his fighting style brings back memories of the defensive fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. Shakur isn’t fun to watch compared to De Los Santos and exciting punchers in the lightweight division.
De Los Santos wants a war with Shakur
“I would hope that he’s coming here thinking he can knock me out because that way, we can give a fight that would satisfy the people,” said Edwin De Los Santos to the media during today’s fighter workouts ahead of his main event clash against Shakur Stevenson.
It’s unlikely that Shakur will attempt to knock out De Los Santos, given how risky that would be. De Los Santos has one-punch power that could finish Shakur at any point in the fight, so he’s likely to play it safe to avoid getting clipped.
“I’m very excited. I went from being the televised opener to being in the main event. I have good defense as well, and he has good defense. But like my trainer always says, defense doesn’t win fights. I have to break through his defense, and I have defense as well. You just haven’t seen it.
“I’m here to fight against anyone, take any challenge. I belong to the PBC stable, so that would be best. That would be smart to do,” said De Los Santos when asked if he would return to the PBC stable to try and arrange a fight with Gervonta Davis if he’s successful against Shakur Stevenson.
De Los Santos would have accepted the offer from Haney
“Of course, I’m here to take on challenges, and Haney is one of my favorite ones. So, I’m ready for that. I would say yes because perhaps he’s only seeing the monetary side,” said De Los Santos when asked if he thinks Shakur should have accepted the 75-25 offer from Devin Haney.
A lot of fans think Shakur made a big mistake by not agreeing to the 75-25 offer given to him by undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney. De Los Santos says if he was offered the fight with Haney, he would have agreed to a 90-10 split because he believed in himself.
“He [Shakur] said I was looking for the payday, but I think he was looking for the payday more than me because I accepted it for 25%,” said De Los Santos about Shakur Stevenson turning down the offer from Haney. “But I would have accepted that fight [against Haney], and I would have accepted even 10% because I believe in myself.
“How does it feel to have an opportunity for this title when recently it was very difficult to get one because there was an undisputed champion [Haney]? I feel very good because there were few opportunities with the four titles with Devin Haney.
“So, he decided to move up. A lot of people got offers [to fight Shakur]. Many people didn’t accept, but I took the offer,” said De Los Santos.