Bob Arum On Valdez-Stevenson – “What Public Wants To See”
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum has promoted Oscar Valdez since his pro debut in 2012 and Shakur Stevenson since his debut in 2017. He said he believed both would win world titles, and both have at both featherweight and junior lightweight.
And since the company signed Stevenson, Arum said he had an inkling they would eventually fight in a major bout. Now, that’s a reality on Saturday night in Las Vegas, as the two will square off in the Top Rank/ESPN main event.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) April 25, 2022
“Well, when we signed Oscar, we knew he would be a premier fighter in the sport,” Arum said this week.
“And when we signed Shakur, we knew that he would be a superstar in the sport. And it was always in the back of our mind that if the weights coincided, they would fight each other. I mean, they’re two great young men, two great fighters and it’s what the public wants to see. And I am so happy that, thanks to ESPN, we can do this fight without asking the public to pay additional money on pay-per-view. So, this is wonderful for the sport.”
Some have suggested that the match is reminiscent of the 2001 junior lightweight title fight between the young Floyd Mayweather and Diego Corrales, who, like Valdez and Stevenson, were both undefeated going into what should have been a unification bout but wasn’t because Corrales had to vacate his belt to fight Mayweather rather than fight a mandatory defense for a fraction of the acclaim and money.
Mayweather’s style is similar to Stevenson’s in that they are both superb defensively and ultra fast. Valdez, similarly to the late Corrales, is a pressure fighter with a powerful punch.
Mayweather-Corrales, which ended with Mayweather scoring a 10th-round TKO in an entertaining but one-sided fight, also took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the same venue where Valdez and Stevenson will fight.
Arum downplayed any comparisons.
“That was a great fight. I remember,” Arum said. “But to make comparisons with different eras is really beside the point. I just think this is gonna be a great, great fight. And the thing I like about it is each trainer wanted this fight. Certainly Eddy Reynoso for Valdez and Shakur’s granddaddy (Wali Moses) and Coach Kay (Koroma) wanted the fight. So, I’m looking forward to a great, great fight. To compare it to Mayweather and Corrales, I can see what you’re getting at, but I think it’s too much of a reach.”