By: Hans Themistode
Despite Oscar Valdez sporting an undefeated record through 30 professional bouts, most are under the assumption that the 31-year-old will hand his WBC super featherweight title to Shakur Stevenson without much of a fight.
Presently, while Valdez is considered Stevenson’s most arduous test, most have firmly picked the former Olympic silver medalist to relieve his man of his world title.
Currently, oddsmakers have publicly backed Stevenson as a gargantuan favorite. Although he’s always been lauded for his otherworldly abilities, his stock reached an all-time high following his most recent trip to the ring.
On October 23rd, 2021, Stevenson battered Jamel Herring, forcing referee Mark Nelson to step in at the halfway point of the 10th round. While the New Jersey native has yet to be extended, Robert Garcia is incredulous to the ongoing narrative surrounding his upcoming bout.
Like most, the longtime trainer is in awe of the skills of Stevenson. However, Garcia is unwilling to concede that Stevenson will walk through Valdez unimpeded, especially considering Valdez’s heritage.
“Oscar Valdez is Mexican and you guys know that Mexicans come to fight,” said Garcia to a group of reporters. “Obviously, it’s not an easy fight. Shakur is very technical, very smart, and great power also. It’s a very difficult fight for both of them.”
Though Garcia has admitted that he’ll be rooting for Valdez to buck the odds and bring home the victory, he’s well aware that it will be much easier said than done. Ultimately, the renowned trainer is willing to do much more than simply cheer for the 31-year-old to protract his world title reign from his ringside seat. As Garcia ponders to himself, he’s convinced that he knows the keys to Valdez pulling off the unlikely victory.
“Valdez is going to try and break him down,” continued Garcia. “Body shots, elbows, shoulders, wherever, that’s what he needs to do. He has a shot.”
Ultimately, despite Garcia lending Valdez what he believes are his keys to victory, he’s unwilling to go against the grain and choose the Mexican star to pull out the win.
“I still think that Shakur is the more talented fighter so I pick Shakur by decision.”
Valdez, a former world champion at 126 pounds as well, has built his career on his rough and rugged style, as well as his never say die attitude. His current underdog status is one that neither bothers nor surprises him. In February of 2021, Valdez was once again doubted by both the betting world and most media pundits.
In a fanless MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stevenson was wildly expected to be brutally knocked out by former 130-pound kingpin, Miguel Berchelt. Undaunted by the dubious voices that surrounded him, Valdez confidently registered the biggest win of his career.
In addition to outboxing his man early on, Valdez brutalized the former champion, resulting in three knockdowns and a 10th-round stoppage victory. Considering Valdez’s propensity for rising to the occasion when the lights shine brightest, Garcia is convinced that he will do so again, albeit in a losing effort.
“Come tomorrow night, I think Valdez is going to prove everyone wrong. He’s got a chance to win, even if he doesn’t, he’s still going to prove everybody wrong. Mostly everybody isn’t even giving him a shot. I think he’s going to go out there and show that he can compete against anyone in the junior lightweight division.”