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King of the Castle: Recap of Oscar Valdez vs Shakur Stevenson – Inside SCOPE

He cannot be denied any longer. One of boxing’s rising stars, put on a pugilistic clinic, warranting a top position across the pound-for-pound list – that is, if he wasn’t placed on the mythical list by most mainstream outlets prior to his dominant performance this past weekend.

Yes, the man standing firm as the leading man in the super featherweight division is none other than the unified WBO, WBC and Ring Magazine titlist, Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KO’s).

“I want to collect all the belts at 130 and become undisputed. I deserve to be a superstar, so that’s what I gotta do,” said Stevenson post-fight.

“This victory means everything. I 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 gameplan, beat the whole team and I feel good about it. Much respect to them, but that was my gameplan.”

Reynoso of course, is the trainer of Valdez and of Valdez’s stablemate, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who was also in attendance to support his friend.

Oscar Valdez falls to (30-1, 23 KO’s), picking up his first official defeat as a professional.
“He did what he had to do to win the fight,” Valdez said during his post-fight interview. “He’s a great fighter. His speed is there. Power is there. He was just he better fighter tonight. Overall, a great fighter.”

While falling short of the objective and there isn’t a concession for losing, Valdez should be applauded for his humility in defeat and his efforts against the superior fighter.

This was an expected outcome for many boxing enthusiasts heading into the match-up, although you wouldn’t know that based on the pro-Valdez crowd at the MGM Grand Arena.

The anti-Stevenson crowd was expected and the undefeated star welcomed the vitriol and fed off that energy.

Reflecting on Stevenson’s dominance, it’s apparent he was able to activate his keys to victory, while Valdez failed to do so.

We identified the keys to victory before it played out – Oscar Valdez vs. Shakur Stevenson: Boxing Preview – INSIDE SCOPE – The Scope Network

Shakur Stevenson (pictured left) punishes Oscar Valdez (pictured right)

Right out from the first round, Stevenson established the jab and kept Valdez outside and in place; in range to where the Newark native felt comfortable. Stevenson utilized his jab to probe for openings and comprehensibly picked Valdez apart.

Straight left hands to the body, sneaky left-hand leads, uppercuts, hooks, a check-hook in the sixth round that sent Valdez into the ropes and eventually on the canvas, Stevenson seemingly did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

The brief moments of success from Valdez came in brief pockets in the third round, landing a few straight right hands and landing solid shots to the body, backing Stevenson up.

However, Valdez was not able to apply the physical and mental pressure to make Stevenson uncomfortable; that was paramount to his success. The “patient hostility” was not there, the beating of Stevenson’s body and limbs was not there. Valdez couldn’t land anything significant, as far as powerful punches that could change the momentum.

The most telling signs of the fight was that Stevenson, as predicted in the preview – Oscar Valdez vs. Shakur Stevenson: Boxing Preview – INSIDE SCOPE – The Scope Network Stevenson would stand his ground an initiate the action – as he did from the first round.

To add to that, before the second round started, Stevenson ran to the center of the ring to plant his flag and mark his territory; that’s psychological warfare, that’s the assertion of mental dominance.

Next up for Valdez:

Back to the drawing board for the man from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Suffering defeat isn’t the end of the world, Valdez is still a top fighting within the division.

He may be in a position at some point soon, to challenge for a world title at super featherweight. The only issues are, Stevenson will probably get preferential choice in regard to facing the other champions for potential unification, and Stevenson again is in the division.

Valdez did not display that he has anything within his arsenal to dethrone Stevenson from his castle. His potential aspirations for championship gold within the division may hinge on whichever moves Stevenson makes.

Next up for Stevenson:

The unified champ mentioned leading into his fight against Valdez and his mission hasn’t changed – he wants to unify all the super featherweight titles to become undisputed.

The two other champions of the division are IBF titlist Kenichi Ogawa (26–1–1–1, 18 KO’s) and WBA titlist Roger Gutiérrez (26–3–1, 20 KO’s). Stevenson would be the betting favorite in either match-up.

Final Take:

There are other challengers and champions within the division, but Stevenson looks to be head and shoulders above everyone else.

His performance over Valdez indicates why it has been suggested that many fighters (including Valdez’s camp) may be looking to avoid Stevenson.

Similar to Floyd Mayweather when he was coming up, similar to Terence Crawford – two fighters Stevenson has been compared to and linked with.

Interesting how all that works huh?

In all respects to the other fighters within the weight class, they appear to be steppingstones to not only cement Stevenson’s dominance at that weight but serving as part of the storyline that shall manifest as his greatness.

Slated to turn 25-year-old later this upcoming June, like his namesake at the very same age Tupac Shakur, the world is at the palm of his hands and the sky is the limit for this artistic master of the boxing ring.


  1. Great article Champ.

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