Shakur Stevenson vs Oscar Valdez fight predictions, bottom card, odds, start time, preview, live stream 2022-04-30 15:00:00


If there’s any bad blood between Shakur Stephenson and the undefeated 130-pound champs Oscar Valdez, it stems from Stevenson’s belief that he has long been avoided by the man he will face in Saturday’s unification battle of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Stephenson (17-0, 9 KOs), the former featherweight title holder who was once Valdez’s mandatory 126-pound contender, believes Valdez moved to lightweight just to avoid him. And even after Valdes beat longtime FIFA World Cup champion Miguel Berchelt in a knockout in 2021, Stevenson feels that Valdes tried everything he could to not have to cross paths with him.

The 24-year-old Southpau, who took a silver at the 2016 Olympics, went so far as to say he felt the top rankings, who promote both fighters, were initially interested in matching Valdes against WBO featherweight champion Emmanuel Navarrete, who is considering raising weight.

“I tell the truth every time,” Stephenson said at his last press conference on Thursday. “I feel like he didn’t want to fight me at 126. Now, we’re here at 130. He was trying to fight Navarrete before he fought me. But we’re here now. We can’t keep talking about it.”

“The battle is on Saturday and I am ready to fight.”

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For the record, Valdes (30-0, 23 KOs) denied even suggesting he was hoping to get rid of Stevenson, who has been compared to young Floyd Mayweather after winning the competition en route to two world titles in several divisions.

Valdez, born in Nogales, Mexico, was a top-tier card leader who doubled with Stevenson’s debut in 2017, and said he’s been preparing for a potential professional encounter against him since seeing Stevenson for the first time in the amateurs.

“Just as in this fight, I was very focused on the fight I had in front of me,” Valdes said, on the night he defended his WBO featherweight title four years ago against Miguel Mariaga. “I knew about Shakur Stevenson. I saw him at the Olympics. He was a great fighter then, and now he’s turned into a great champion.”

Like Stevenson, the 31-year-old Valdez has also had a decorated amateur career and represented Mexico at the 2012 Olympics. He also claimed world titles at 126 and 130 pounds, but is entering this fight fresh after a tumultuous year of equal highs and lows.

Valdes started 2021 by exceeding all expectations in Berchelt’s knockout, which was seen as a victory in large part to the extent of the influence of this year’s permanent coach Eddy Reynoso, who helped Valdes fine-tune his technique to match his toughness and aggression. . But just as Valdes seemed to be approaching potential talent on a pound-for-pound level, controversy soon followed.

Before returning in September against the undefeated Robson Conceicao, Valdes tested positive for a banned substance but was arguably allowed to continue the fight. The negative headlines seemed to manipulate Valdes’ focus as he struggled for a close win.

Although Valdez continued to stand firm on his belief that the positive test was due to his intake of herbal tea, Stevenson did not forget and went so far as to remind Valdez to “make sure you don’t cheat” during all public events involving invalidity during Fight Week.

“He’s the kind of fighter who talks a lot and always thinks,” Valdes said. He’s the kind of fighter who doesn’t want to go to war. I’m the kind of fighter who always wants to give the fans what they want. Since then he’s not willing to give the fans what they want, this is going to be a chess match, It will be a more technical battle.

“The smartest fighter in the ring will win.”

Both fighters welcomed elite talent into their side to help prepare as Valdes worked in the same camp with Canelo Alvarez before returning in May and Stephenson welcomed “big brother” Terence Crawford into the camp for good sparring.

Although Valdez clearly believes in his chances, forecast makers disagree. Stevenson, who had the best performance of his career stopping WBO champ Jamal Hering last October, was positioned as the 8-1 favorite.

“The odds are against me and everyone thinks he’s going to walk over me,” Valdes said. “But just like against Berchelt, I’m going to use that as a motivation. I know I have a tough fight ahead of me but it’s not something I’ve done before. Like we say in Mexico, I’m willing to die on the line just to win. That’s all I care about.”

As expected, Brasch Stephenson had no shortage of confidence entering his toughest test yet.

“The world has yet to see all that Shakur Stephenson can do in the boxing ring,” Stephenson said. “I am the next star of boxing and my performance [on Saturday] It will prove it.”

Before we get to Stevenson vs. Valdez, a pair of leads get their chance to shine again on the bottom card. He faces former Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis, Esteban Sanchez in the lightweight competition. Davis, 23, has earned his medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games and has gone 4-0 by three knockouts since turning professional in February 2021. Additionally, Nico Ali Walsh, Muhammad Ali’s grandson, is making his fifth trip to the ring when he takes on Alejandro Ibarra. in medium weight. Ali Walsh, 21, turned pro in August 2021 and also has three knockouts in four pro fights.

Below is the full ESPN Saturday Night Fight Pass along with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before getting to the prediction and expert selection for the main event.

Fight card, odds

  • Shakur Stevenson (c) -800 vs Oscar Valdez (c) +550, Junior Lightweight unification
  • Keyshawn Davis -1300 vs Esteban Sanchez +800, Lightweight
  • Nico Ali Walsh -1500 vs Alejandro Ibarra 850+, middleweight

Information display

  • Date: April 30 | location: MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas
  • start time: 10 p.m. Eastern time
  • TV channel: ESPN | Live broadcast: fuboTV (Try for free)


Valdez is talented and versatile enough to make this, at least on paper, an interesting harmony. But make no mistake about it, if Valdez is unable to slow down and discipline Stevenson too quickly, that too is likely a surgical autopsy.

Comparisons with a young Mayweather, and in particular a turn-of-the-century “pretty boy” version, seem apt to Stevenson. He’s far from a great player, however the speed and accuracy of his combos prove to be killer.

If Valdez is having trouble handling that speed and can’t time Stevenson, similar to the way Marquez learned to hit Pacquiao during their four-fight rivalry, ongoing cuts and damage are likely. Lucky for Valdez, he’s shown tremendous resistance to punches in the past, battling through a broken jaw to pass Scott Quig in their 2018 thriller.

But Valdes’ biggest problem is that he may have already shown how great he is by upping his game against Berchelt. And even that version probably wouldn’t be enough to beat Stevenson if the Newark, NJ native continues to raise his bar every time his competition increases.

It’s easy to compare 23-year-old Mayweather up against fellow undefeated (and massive puncher) Diego Corrales in their 130-pound showdown in 2001. Five knockouts later after Corrales’ corner kicked in the towel to end a one-sided breakup In the tenth round, Mayweather cemented himself as the biggest threat from a P4P perspective.

Expect Stevenson to do the same.

picking Stevenson via TKO11

Who will win Stevenson against Valdes? And what brace should be restored? Visit SportsLine now to see Brandon Wise’s best bets for Saturdayall from the CBS combat sports specialist who crushed boxing picks in 2021, and he found out.