Fighter of the Week: Shakur Stevenson

On what was a massive weekend in boxing with major fights held in both the World’s Most Famous Arena, the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, and in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas. It would take a truly special performance to capture this week’s Fighter of the Week Award. That’s exactly what Shakur Stevenson, of Newark, New Jersey, did Saturday night at the MGM Grand Gardens Arena when he destroyed Oscar Valdez over 12 one-sided rounds. For the second time in six months, Stevenson outclassed a 130-pound world champion. Stevenson rolled to an easy and well earned unanimous decision victory and moved his record to 18-0 (9), defended his WBO super featherweight belt, picked up Valdez’s WBC strap, established himself among the pound for pound best, and took home our Fighter of the Week award.

A superstar was going to be made on April 30th it was either going to be Stevenson or Valdez but someone was going to walk out of the ring a superstar, the bout was way too big and the stakes were too high for the winner not to be viewed as a star in the sport of boxing. It was Steenson, right from the star, who looked like the superstar. Out jabbing out moving the much slower Valdez and even taking chances and standing in on the inside and picking his spots to exchange. The bout went from a clinic to a beatdown in the sixth with Valdez behind on points looking to pick up the pace, fired a massive overhand left that Stevenson timed perfectly, and countered quickly by dropping Valdez with a quick left to the temple and seized control of the bout. Valdez rebounded nicely in the seventh and was able to do solid work on the inside, which may have been his best round of the fight. The momentum was short-lived and Stevenson regained control of the fight and the clinic picked up where it left off. With the speedy Stevenson lighting Valdez up from long range, putting brilliant combinations together. Stevenson remained in control till the final 10 seconds when he ran around celebrating the obvious victory. As the cards came in the decision was academic 117-110 and 118-109×2. Post-fight “This victory means everything,” told ya’ll what I was going to do. I said I’m gonna beat Valdez, Canelo (Alvarez), and Eddy Reynoso, so that was my game plan. I deserve to be a superstar, so that’s what I gotta do.”

There are two belts left at 130-pounds. Kenichi Ogawa holds the IBF and will defend the belt on June 4th against Joe Cordina and the WBA belt which is held by Roger Gutierrez, who holds the WBA. Outside of the other champions, there are other lucrative options out there for the unified Super featherweight champ that include Josh Warrington, Mauricio Lara, and former champ Kid Galahad. All would be big money fights for Stevenson who proved he was a star with the massive ratings he drew in his last two fights with Herring and Valdez. By handily defeating those two fighters Stevenson has also proved that in addition to being a rating star he is also willing and fully able to dispose of the other top fighters in the division. Which could all conclude with a massive pay-per-view showdown with seek and destroy KO artist and free-agent to be Tank Davis, who spoke of moving back down to 130 for his next fight.

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