Tim Bradley on Stevenson vs. De Los Santos: “Easy work for Shakur”

By Boxing News - 11/03/2023 - Comments

By Dan Ambrose: Tim Bradley predicts that Shakur Stevenson will make “easy work” of Edwin De Los Santos in their fight this money on November 16th for the vacant WBC lightweight title on ESPN at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Shakur is a big favorite to defeat De Los Santos due to his ring IQ and defensive skills, which are second to none in the lightweight division.

The best chance the Dominican Republic fighter De Los Santos has is if Stevenson wants to entertain the fans by mixing it up with him, which would leave him vulnerable to getting hit.

Shakur would be vulnerable to De Los Santos, like anyone in the division, if he lands solid, and it would send shock waves through the division if he were to lose.

Bradley feels that De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) makes too many mistakes for him to have a shot at defeating the former two-division world champion Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) in their headliner.

Although Bradley does note that southpaw De Los Santos does have excellent power, he doesn’t think he’ll be able to land anything against the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, who is not easy to hit.

WBO super featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) will be on the undercard, defending against Robson Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs).

Shakur will make De Los Santos pay

“Easy work for Shakur. I know De Los Santos, no disrespect to him. He’s a tremendous fighter, but there are levels to this game. Shakur Stevenson is levels above him,” said Tim Bradley to ESNEWS.

“He does have some power, so Shakur has got to be cautious, but he makes some mistakes that Shakur can take advantage of. Boxing is about space, being able to control the space. You got to be able to do that, and nobody does it better than Shakur Stevenson.”

Hopefully, Shakur doesn’t make it a boring evening by using his pull-back defensive style all night because the boxing fans will be disappointed. Just in case Stevenson does stink up the joint like he’s occasionally done during his fights.

What Shakur should be trying to do is what Bradley predicts by walking De Los Santos down, throwing power shots, and not hitting & running like he normally does.

Bob Arum of Top Rank has got to be concerned about whether Shakur will ever be a superstar because he doesn’t have a fan-friendly style. He’s to the Floyd Mayweather-esque style that’s not enough for this era of boxing fans, as they want to be entertained inside the ring rather than listening to some brag about himself, coming across as an egomaniac, but then boring people to tears when it comes to his fights.

The lightweight’s most entertaining fighters, De Los Santos, Frank Martin, Raymond Muratalla, William Zepeda, and Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz, don’t hold titles, unfortunately.

Instead, you’ve got the finesse guy, Devin Haney, and the cherry-picking Gervonta Davis, holding the belts hostage, ruining the weight class.

“De Los Santos, he will come out aggressive, he will come out strong, but what happens when that person isn’t there to be hit?” said Bradley. “So all that offense and all that power that you have, it has nowhere to land. I think that’s what you’re going to see.”

It’s not a good thing for the boxing public if Shakur “isn’t there to be hit” on November 16th, especially for Top Rank because this is the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas, and there will be a lot of casual fans tuning in on ESPN to watch that sport.

If many of those fans end up watching the Shakur-De Los Santos fight by accident, it won’t be good if Stevenson is seen running around the ring, trying not to get hit all night by De Los Santos.

The best thing for Top Rank, boxing, and Shakur is if he goes to war with De Los Santos in an old-school manner the way Sugar Ray Leonard did against Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns is willing to put his chin on the line.

“Don’t be surprised if you see Shakur walk him down. Don’t be surprised. I’ve watched on film when De Los Santos gets pushed back. Yes, he does strike, but he has a tendency to make mistakes. So, Shakur will make him pay for his mistakes,” Bradley said.

It would be surprising if Shakur walks De Los Santos down, but it would be great for him and the fans. If Shakur gets knocked out, Top Rank can always get him a rematch, and the attention would be massive for the second fight.

Big future fight for Stevenson

“Those belts don’t feed your family. They do to a certain degree because you’ve got to get them belts, but he’s [Stevenson] has been there and done that,” said Tim when asked if Shakur should have accepted the 75/25 split offer given to him by undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney recently, which Stevenson turned down.”

It’s not a good thing that Shakur didn’t call Haney’s bluff by agreeing to the 75/25 purse split, because it makes him come across like he didn’t want the fight.

If Shakur had agreed to it, it would have put Haney in a position where he’d either have to take the fight or look bad by coming up with an excuse. You got to accept that offer if you’re Shakur Stevenson because there was so much to gain if he’d gotten that fight.

“Shakur is a name, and Shakur needs to be taken care of; I’ll just tell you that,” said Bradley. “He needs to be taken care of because of his skillset and what he brings to the table. Whatever that offer was [from Haney], I think it was bogus anyway.”

If the bogus, Shakur should have agreed to it and put Haney in a position where he would have lost the respect of the fans because they would have seen that he was pretending to be interested in fighting him.

“I think it was a way to get Shakur up and out of the way. I think they knew he wouldn’t budge or take the offer anyway, to begin with,’ said Bradley. “Trust me, Haney knows what he’s up against when he fights a guy like Shakur. Haney is a tremendous talent himself, but he ain’t no Shakur Stevenson. I’ll tell you that right now.”

Stevenson didn’t understand that he could have put Haney in a lousy position by calling his bluff because either way, he would have looked good in the eyes of fans. Instead of agreeing to the offer, Shakur rejected it, and now fans think he’s A. greedy and B. afraid of Haney.

“No, he shouldn’t have taken the deal. He’s still young, and Haney and him can still go at it, whether at 135, 140, or 147. They will meet and see each other down the line, and it will be worth more money than they ever imagined,” said Bradley.

“Edwin is a dog; he’s coming, and he doesn’t have nothing to lose. So, all he’s got to do is come in there, but he’s fighting as the skillful, young, talented, extraordinary special guy in Shakur Stevenson,” said Zab Judah to MillCity Boxing about Edwin De Los Santos, having everything to gain taking on Shakur Stevenson on November 16th in their battle for the vacant WBC lightweight crown.

“To be able to watch him now, it’s phenomenal to be able to watch these guys fight. I love it.”

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