They say that sometimes the headlines write themselves. Well, this time the headline for this column was basically written by a Top Rank press release. In the wake of Shakur Stevenson's unsatisfying 12 round victory over Edwin De Los Santos in Las Vegas this past Thursday, this was sent out by them:
While Stevenson won his third major world title (the WBC lightweight belt) by out-pointing Edwin De Los Santos, the fight itself was devoid of any real action, and quite frankly, was agony to watch. The assumption is that many people who watched this ESPN main event on the East Coast probably fell asleep, while I personally witnessed people leaving the T-Mobile Arena before the final bell.
What was supposed to be a further showcase for the highly skilled Stevenson on Formula 1 weekend, was instead a bust. Much like F1 -- which became like the Fyre Festival of auto racing -- he failed to live up to expectations in 'Sin City'. While he won by the scores of 116-112 (twice) and 115-113, there are more than a few observers who believe that De Los Santos should have had his hand raised in victory.
Regardless, to call this fight uneventful would be an understatement. One guy wouldn't, and the other guy couldn't. It was the type of fight that the old-timers would say, 'You let them in for free, and charge'em to leave.'
Mikey Williams/Top Rank
The boos and catcalls started early as the second round, and then only grew louder and more prolonged as the night went on. You could say that the entertaining scrap between Emanuel Navarrete and Robson Conceicao was the main event, while Stevenson-De Los Santos became the walk-out bout.
There is a belief that when you have two southpaws in the ring at the same time, that you have at least one too many. This was the case for this particular match-up. But credit has to be given to the Dominican, who was very crafty in his own right, and because of his heavy hands, had Stevenson cautious for much of this fight. De Los Santos also utilized feints effectively, which kept Stevenson off-balance and at bay for long stretches.
"We all know what happened. He came for a track meet,'' stated De Los Santos. "He didn’t come to fight. I showed that I am on a higher level because he never stood and fought like he does with other fighters.
There was so little in terms of action that Top Rank didn't even put out a highlight package for this bout on their YouTube channel. (Geez, you couldn't even find a good 30 seconds to put together?)
In the immediate aftermath, Stevenson revealed that he had some physical ailments that hampered him on this evening. Maybe some of the derision is over-the-top but boxers are ultimately judged by their performances inside the ring. And in an era where they perform so infrequently, an outing like this will stick with Stevenson for awhile.
“I just didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel good before the fight,'' he revealed. "Honestly, I had already told myself that if I feel like this in the ring and if it’s not going well, I’m going to make sure that I box and get the victory.”
This was a performance that was panned by both fellow prizefighters and by the fans on social media. Much of it is warranted. The truth of the matter is that with Stevenson's skills and style, he wasn't the type of boxer that other marquee names in the division would face willingly. With the nature of this most recent fight, the paying public may not have the appetite to see him any time soon.
Perhaps that's unfair, after all, everyone is entitled to a bad night at the office. But boxing isn't just a sport, it's also the entertainment business. So while he won on Thursday night, Stevenson also lost a bit of something.
The aforementioned clash between Navarrete and Conceicao was a good one. Navarrete isn't nearly as technically sound as Stevenson, but he generally puts on really good fights. Sometimes, your flaws are your strengths.
Conceicao got off to a strong start as he was quicker off the trigger than the defending champion, but he was sent down twice in this fight, and looked to be on his last legs at the end of the 11th round.
But to his credit, he rallied to take the final stanza. Which was key as he was able to salvage a draw. The scorecards for this fight read 114-112 (Navarrete) and two cards had it 113-113. With that dead heat, Naverrete retained the WBO junior lightweight title.
Mikey Williams, Top Rank
Navarrete said, "The decision is well-deserved. Robson is a great fighter. He left his heart in the ring. There were some details with regard to technique, but we accomplished what we said we would do. We gave a great show for the fans. And, at least, I am very happy to come away with the title."
It isn't always pretty or stylish with 'Vaquero', but it's never boring.
On Saturday night at the YouTube Theater in Los Angeles, super middleweight hopeful, Diego Pacheco, put in some solid work in breaking down the tough Marcelo Coceres in nine rounds.
There's been a lot of discussion over who should be the 2023 'Prospect of the Year', I suggested on Twitter that it should be Pacheco(20-0, 17 KOs) who is still just 22 years old. But it was pointed out to me by Ring Magazine editor, Doug Fischer, that he's been fighting at the 10 round level since the midpoint of 2022, and that he considers him a young contender.
Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing
Indeed, Ring Magazine has him rated ninth in the super middleweight division.
OK, so with all that said, this is a young man to keep tabs on. Eddie Hearn is bullish on his future, and he has made it clear that he'd like to match him with Edgar Berlanga. Good luck trying to make that.
Both Abdullah Mason and Emiliano Vargas had early KO's on Thursday night on the Top Rank card...Nick Ball looks like he will be a factor in the featherweight division. He pounded out a 12 round decision over veteran Isaac Dogboe on Saturday in Manchester....Barstow Del Taco is still very much elite...Never seen the strip of Las Vegas so empty as it was late last week....The MVP Shake from Shake Shack, wow, Kevin Durant says that's the real MVP....The honeymoon is over between Lincoln Riley and USC....Has Jayden Daniels of LSU done enough to win the Heisman Trophy?....How 'bout dem knee-biting Detroit Lions?.... I can be reached at email@example.com.....