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Shakur Stevenson Puts On A Star Making Performance Against Oscar Valdez

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Shakur Stevenson Puts On A Star Making Performance Against Oscar Valdez
Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

There can only be one ruler at 130 pounds. His name, we found out, was Shakur Stevenson (18-0,9 KOs), as he made it look easy defeating Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision. 10,102 in attendance who sounded pro-Valdez at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas watched the first unification bout at lightweight since 2005 go down.

The broadcast that aired on ESPN ended with the final scorecards easily for Stevenson 117-110 and 118-109 x 2.

From the onset, the jab was looking to give Valdez problems by Stevenson as he was able in the opening feeling out round. Valdez wanted to make this a tactical contest with a focused attack on the body, hopefully opening things upstairs later in the fight.

Shakur Stevenson (L) walks to the ring with DaBaby (R) before his WBC and WBO junior lightweight championship fight. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

The third was the first clear round in which Valdez got to fight his fight as he could constantly cut the ring off and continually press the body attack on Stevenson. That changed back as Stevenson was again the more active fighter in the ring, looking to keep Valdez on the other end of his jab by the fourth round.

Stevenson scored a flash knockdown on Valdez in the sixth round with a left as he was charging in. Valdez looked fine from it and was more than ready to go as referee Kenny Bayless continued his standing eight count, and the fight pressed on.

After a better seventh for Valdez and a close eighth round, the fight went back to what it was in the ninth. Stevenson reminded all of the boxing world why he is one of the best defensive fighters in the sport. Stevenson, by this point, was able to corner Valdez and beat him to the attack. Valdez was going down swinging and could get back to his body attack in the tenth. One of the questions asked before this bell rang on this contest was how Stevenson would handle Valdez's and his power. The answer we found out was very well. The question now begins what is next for the US Olympian at 130 in the ring.

Outside of it, it looks to be marriage, as he proposed to his girlfriend before answering post-fight questions.

Ali Walsh, Davis Shine on Undercard

Nico Ali Walsh (5-0, 4 KOs) started the party with a first-round knockout to capture his fifth win as a pro. The current UNLV student closed the short night with a right that Alejandro Ibarra (7-2. 2 KOs) never saw coming. Once that right hit his face, the sound lit up the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The official time of the stoppage was 2:50.

Ali, post-fight, explained how the stoppage happened:

“I was setting him up with the right hand. I noticed his left hand was going down when he threw the jab. I was trying to counter it, and that's what I did. I wish the best for him and his team. He's a true warrior. But I just waited for that setup, and I saw it, and I took advantage.”

The action took a break to discuss the main event while a historical women's boxing match took place across the country. The co-feature had Keyshawn Davis (5-0,4 KOs) in action.

Esteban Sanchez (L) and Keyshawn Davis (R) exchange punches during their lightweight fight. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Davis was able to use his movement and punch selection to land at will. This target practice was even more apparent as the fight went on. By the fifth round, Sanchez was a sitting duck while being peppered from shots by Davis. One could make a case that this fight could've been stopped then, but Sanchez was game and still pressing forward despite showing the cosmetic work done by Davis in the ring all night. A flurry of punches and a nasty uppercut finally got referee Robert Hoyle to call it a night on this contest. 2:44 of round six was the official time of the stoppage for the 2020 US Olympic Silver medalist.

“He's a great fighter, and I didn't realize that until the first round. I said, ‘Whoa, he can fight!' I knew I had to snap into a different Keyshawn. He's a great fighter, a real respectful fighter. Hat's off to Esteban Sanchez. Thank you for this opportunity. We should see a lot of Esteban Sanchez in the future. I just kept staying steady, staying with my rhythm. My coach, {Brian McIntyre}, kept telling me to go the body. I was trying to stab him a lot in the rounds, and honestly, I was just picking up round after round. I loved this fight because it challenged me. I felt challenged in the ring. I was happy I got a great performance and the stoppage” said Davis during the post fight interview.