Shakur Stevenson Dominates Oscar Valdez in Boxing Statement

  • Shakur Stevenson said all week his Saturday fight against Oscar Valdez would be his coming-out party as a boxing superstar.
  • And he was right. The American dominated his opponent before proposing to his girlfriend in the middle of the ring.
  • She said yes — two victories in one night.

LAS VEGAS — Shakur Stevenson broke the collective hearts of the Mexican fight fans who cheered Oscar Valdez to the ring before trying to jeer the American back to New Jersey.

Valdez had talked to Insider and other reporters throughout the Las Vegas fight week about how personal this rivalry was for him. Stevenson had accused him of ducking and alleged that he was a cheater.

That emotion was felt throughout the MGM Grand Garden Arena when it was time for the ring walks, as the casino crowd generated the most raucous boxing atmosphere the city had experienced in the year so far.

They left disappointed. It was not Valdez’s night. This was Stevenson’s.

The 24-year-old spoke to Insider and other reporters this week about how he regarded the Valdez fight — a junior lightweight world title unification bout — as his coronation as a pound-for-pound boxing superstar.

He didn’t disappoint.

Valdez had his moments. He swung at Stevenson’s body like he owed him money, determined to damage the super-sharp stylist’s gas tank. But Stevenson stood his ground rather than box in circles, as he was confident he could throw and land numerous shots at will.

Stevenson used his southpaw jab for a variety of means — as a distance-measuring device, to keep Valdez away, and to tee up short bursts of shots.

Valdez said pre-fight that this style match-up would unlikely yield a war — more of a chess game. But if this was chess, it was fought with knights, heavily-armed, fighting in close quarters. It was as gripping as chess games can be.

Stevenson was leading, at least on Insider’s unofficial scorecard, but Valdez was by no means out of the fight. He was live, capable of landing significant strikes — likely more significant than Stevenson had felt before.

But it was Stevenson who was banking the rounds. He controlled the pace of the fight, the distance the bout was fought at, and was the more confident boxer. After five rounds, he gestured to the Valdez crowd, and then to himself, as if to say that he ran this town, Vegas, the combat sports capital of the world.

At the start of the sixth, Stevenson had his breakthrough moment as he put Valdez on the floor. It all went down while Valdez was trying to attack. He kept his guard high, fired straight shots, and backed Stevenson into the ropes. This could have been a vulnerable position but Stevenson switched places, and countered Valdez with a right hand before following with an uppercut that sat him down on the canvas.

Watch the sixth-round knockdown right here:

From the seventh onwards, Stevenson mercilessly beat Valdez up. Valdez was in range, able to throw, but rarely landed anything of significance as the levels between the two fighters had been established. This was Stevenson’s night now.

Stevenson increased the tempo, threw harder shots as if he was conserving energy for opportune moments, and snapped jabs at Valdez’s skull, one-twos to the mouth, and left hooks to the body.

The chess game was no more. This was threatening to become queens against pawns. And Stevenson was pwning Valdez.

With few rounds remaining, Valdez needed to make drastic changes. But he didn’t. Or couldn’t. He couldn’t get inside of Stevenson, who picked him apart with ease while standing right in front of him. The American showed that he doesn’t need to needlessly move around the ring to avoid shots. He could do all that by standing in front of him while being far more economical with his energy reserves.

Stevenson had outclassed Valdez for most of the night. So, with 15 seconds remaining, he turned to the pro-Valdez crowd and owned them, too, by running around the ring just like he had ran away with the result, while making faces at all those who had booed him prior.

Confirming the result, Stevenson earned one score of 117-110 and two of 118-109 to unify Valdez’s WBC world championship with his own WBO world title.

If that wasn’t enough, he then got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, who said yes — two victories in one night.

Keyshawn shined against Sanchez

Keyshawn Davis.

 

Keyshawn Davis.

Photo by Getty Images

Earlier in the evening, Keyshawn Davis out-slugged Esteban Sanchez en route to a sixth-round stoppage win in the co-feature.

One of the most touted prospects in American combat sports, Davis — likened to all-time boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard by Top Rank boss Bob Arum — landed 157 of his 366 shots while limiting Sanchez to a meager 20 from 134.

After his win was announced, Davis paid credit to Sanchez by calling him a “great fighter.”

He said that he thought to himself, “Whoa, he can fight!” in the very first round and needed to “snap into a different Keyshawn” as a result.

“I loved this fight because it challenged me,” he added later. “I felt challenged in the ring. I was happy I got a great performance and the stoppage.”

Ali Walsh said he’s ‘bringing my grandpa back to life’

Nico Ali Walsh.

 

Nico Ali Walsh.

Photo by Getty Images

Elsewhere on the card, Nico Ali Walsh — Muhammad Ali’s grandson — scored a thunderous first-round knockout and generated raucous chants of “Ali! Ali! Ali!”

The 21-year-old, who advanced his undefeated pro boxing record to five wins (four knockouts), said he’s bringing his grandpa back to life with his performances.

“That’s why mom gets so emotional because she’s seeing her dad again and hearing her dad’s name to me,” said Ali Walsh after his highlight-reel finish.

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