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Unbeaten junior lightweights Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez will unify two world titles Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) vs. Oscar Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs)
Date: Saturday, April 30
Time: 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT (main event later in show)
Where: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
TV/Stream: ESPN, ESPN+
Cost: ESPN+ is $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually
Division: Junior lightweight (130 pounds)
At stake: Valdez’s WBC and Stevenson’s WBO titles
Pound-for-pound ranking: None
Odds: Stevenson 4-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Keyshawn Davis vs. Esteban Sanchez, junior welterweights; Nico Ali Walsh vs. Alejandro Ibarra, middleweights
Prediction: Stevenson UD
Background: Stevenson and Valdez own only one of the four major junior lightweight titles each but the winner will be seen as the king of the division. Stevenson, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, has dazzled fans as a professional with his natural gifts, skill set and ring acumen. No one has given him a significant challenge, including elite opponents. He nearly shut out previously unbeaten Joet Gonzalez to win the vacant WBO 126-pound title in October 2019 and then immediately moved up to 130. He won three consecutive fights at that weight to earn a shot at respected WBO titleholder Jamel Herring, who was outclassed and then stopped by the rising star in the 10th round. Thus, Stevenson become a two-division champion at 24 years old. Valdez, a two-time Olympian from Mexico, also is a fine all-around fighter and a two-division titleholder. He stopped Matias Rueda in two rounds to win the WBO 126-pound title in 2016 and successfully defended six times, including a wide decision over Scott Quigg. He recorded his biggest victory in February of last year, stopping the feared Miguel Berchelt in 10 rounds to add the WBC 130-pound belt to his collection. Valdez tested positive for the banned substance phentermine before his first defense against Robson Conceicao in September yet was allowed to fight and retain his title.