Mike CoppingerESPN4 minutes of reading
Las Vegas — Shakur Stevenson looked to make a statement Thursday against Edwin De Los Santos as his star grows brighter. Now, as he wins a title in a third weight class, his stock drops after one of the worst TV main events in recent memory.
Stevenson made no excuses as neither fighter reached double figures over 12 rounds in a 116-112, 115-113 and 116-112 lightweight title fight over De Los Santos.
“I had a bad game tonight,” said ESPN’s no. said Stevenson, an 8 pound-for-pound boxer. “That’s what I focused on. I’m sick and I’ll live with it. It’s okay….
“I didn’t feel good before the fight,” he continued. “Honestly, if I already feel this way in the ring and it doesn’t go well, I’m going to make sure I box and get the win.”
Stevenson showed limited offense throughout, but especially with his left arm. When asked if his arm was injured, Stevenson did not elaborate.
“I can’t say anything about that,” he said. “I’m not making excuses. It happens. We go through a lot as fighters.”
Devin Haney, who has been sparring with Stevenson on social media for months, wrote on X, “Stop that scare story … ain’t nobody scared of that pump!”
Stevenson and others called him the most avoided fighter in boxing.
Boxing star Ryan Garcia wrote on the same forum, “Imagine going to this fight on a Formula 1 weekend, I’d ask for my money back and go straight to bed, how much sleep I’d get from being there.”
A clash of styles is often the cause of lack of action. Both boxers are southpaw counter-punchers and neither wants to lead.
So while Stevenson escaped with the win and his third division title — Dec. One taken from Haney after signing a clash with Regis Progress on the 9th — he needs to recover from a night full of boos and fans heading for the exits before then. The fight is over.
But all is not lost from an entertainment perspective this Thursday night.
Emanuel Navarrete, boxing’s most reliable action fighter, delivered yet another slugfest, but was surprisingly balanced in his 130-pound title defense against Robson Conceicao.
Navarrete floored Conceicao twice — in rounds 4 and 7 — and came close to stopping him in the 11th round, but the Olympic gold medalist won the final round on all three scorecards to avoid defeat and earn a rematch.
To wash away the bad taste of his fight, Stevenson needs to fight a pressure fighter who can free his hands, someone he can face in an entertaining fight. Navarrete fits the bill, and Stevenson has been linked to a potential April fight, but his draw changes as a rematch could be next.
William Cepeda, promoted by Golden Boy, may be Stevenson’s best option at this point. The undefeated Mexican used to throw 1,000 punches per fight. He once topped the 1,500 mark. Against a volume puncher like Zepeda, Stevenson can showcase his skills in a TV-friendly matchup that helps fans make this night one to remember.
Here’s how I saw the action throughout the night: