Shakur Stevenson had a life-changing night, both professionally and personally.
The gifted junior lightweight easily outpointed Oscar Valdez to unify two titles Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a victory that enhanced his reputation as a rising star.
And in the ring immediately afterward he proposed to his girlfriend, the mother of his child. She said yes.
Not a bad night, huh?
“It means everything,” he said with his belts on his shoulders and then took a shot at Valdez’s team. “I told y’all what I was going to do. I said I’m going to beat Valdez, Canelo [Alvarez] and [trainer Eddy] Reynoso. That was my game plan, to beat the whole team. And I feel good about it.
“Much respect to them, no disrespect to them, but that was my game plan.”
Shakur Stevenson scores the first knockdown 👊 #ValdezStevenson pic.twitter.com/MPBfwuR2hk
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) May 1, 2022
The fight was about as one-sided as it gets at the championship level.
Stevenson controlled the fight with his jab and sharp combinations, which kept Valdez at a distance favorable to him round after dominating round.
The determined Mexican forced his way inside on occasion — landing some eye-catching body shots in the process — but it wasn’t enough to win rounds.
Indeed, Valdez spent most of the fight eating punches and wondering what he could possibly do to turn the tide, to land a big punch, to do anything to get back into the fight. He came up empty.
Plus, it didn’t help that he went down in Round 6, the result of a counter from Stevenson after Valdez missed a wild punch.
Thus, the scoring was no surprise to anyone: 118-109, 118-109 and 117-110, all for Stevenson. Boxing Junkie also had Stevenson winning 118-109, 10 rounds to two.
It was the finest performance of the two-division champion’s career given Valdez’s ability, a clear demonstration that the 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist is one of the better fighters in the world pound for pound.
“I’m a superstar in this sport,” Stevenson said. “Line ’em up, name ’em, I’m ready for whoever.”
Who might that be?
The other two 130-pound titleholders are Roger Gutierrez (WBA) and Kenichi Ogawa (IBF), neither of whom has the respect Valdez had when he entered the ring Saturday.
“Any of the champions,” Stevenson said. “My goal is to collect all the belts at 130 and become undisputed. I deserve to be a superstar. This is what I gotta do.”