Shakur Stevenson dominates Oscar Valdez to unify two 130-pound titles

LAS VEGAS -- Shakur Stevenson backed up the trash talk with another one-sided performance.

Stevenson dominated Oscar Valdez for the entirety of their 12-round bout in a Top Rank on ESPN main event Saturday night before 10,102 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to unify two belts at 130-pounds by unanimous decision. Stevenson is not a star in the making; he is already there.

The 24-year-old dropped Valdez in the sixth round and used an excellent southpaw jab to neutralize Valdez’s power and set up crisp left hands to the body. The judges scored the bout 118-109, 117-110, and 118-109 for Stevenson. However, had it 120-107.

“I’m a superstar in this sport,” said Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs), of Newark, New Jersey. “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.”

Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs), who is also a former 126-pound titleholder, floored Valdez in the sixth round with a well-placed right hook that sent him stumbling into the ropes before a second right hand knocked him on his can.

Stevenson stepped on the gas in an attempt to finish the fight, but Valdez survived.

“I told myself, ‘I’m gonna shut [Valdez’s fans] up,’ and as the fight went on I heard crickets,” he added.

Mexico’s Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) simply got schooled. He couldn’t find a way past the jab and was outmatched in every category from size, speed, to skills. While Valdez was relegated to throwing one shot at a time, Stevenson connected with combinations.

“He’s a great fighter,” Valdez said of Stevenson. “His speed is there. Power is there. He was just the better fighter tonight. Overall, a great fighter.”

According to Compubox, Stevenson landed 189 of 580 punches (33 percent), and Valdez connected with 110 of 508 (29 percent).

It was a chess match, a non-competitive one at that. For every move Valdez made, Stevenson would make three. For a camp that relies heavily on defensive expertise, Valdez looked pretty vulnerable throughout, as straight lefts connected to his body with regularity.

A left to the body stunned Valdez in the 10th frame, but Stevenson didn’t press for the KO this time and continued to outbox and mentally break down Valdez.

Stevenson was coming off a 10th-round TKO of former titleholder Jamel Herring in October, which saw the 2016 Olympic silver medalist become a two-division titleholder.

For Valdez, now he must cope with the first loss of his professional career, but it appears he may not be without a title for very long. Stevenson also revealed he might move up to 135-pounds for his next bout, vying to win a world title in his third weight class. Stevenson is interested in fighting the winner of the undisputed lightweight championship bout on June 4 between George Kambosos Jr. and Devin Haney.

“Devin is definitely a huge fight for me; Devin is a helluva fighter. We can line it up in the future,” said Stevenson. “You line ’em up, name ’em; I’m ready for whoever.”

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