Shakur Stevenson Wins a Tedious Fight from Edwin De Los Santos in Las Vegas


By Arne K. Lang

Shakur Stevenson, a world title-holder in three weight divisions after only 21 pro fights, is an extremely gifted boxer. According to figures provided by ESPN, heading into his match tonight with Edwin De Los Santos for the vacant WBC lightweight title, Stevenson had out-landed his previous opponents in 130 of 133 rounds. But the former Olympic silver medalist isn't and likely never will be a crowd-pleaser. Stevenson vs De Los Santos was a dreadfully tedious affair that played out against the backdrop of a steady chorus of boos.

There wasn't an indelible moment. According to the ESPN announcing crew, neither man had double-digit connections through the first 11 rounds and the twelfth round was more of the same -- more posturing and feinting than actual fighting. The final scores -- 115-113 and 116-112 twice; all for Shakur, were somewhat generous to the Dominican -- notwithstanding the fact that the former Olympic silver medalist may have entered the ring with a damaged left hand; he hardly used it. It was the second loss in 18 starts for De Los Santos. a heavy underdog.


The third time wasn't a charm for Brazil's Robson Conceicao who came up short in title fights with Oscar Valdez and Shakur Stevenson, but Conceicao came within a whisker of ending Emanuel Navarrete's 33-fight winning streak.

When the dust settled, Navarrete (38-1-1) retained his WBO lightweight title by dint of a majority draw. Two early knockdowns made the difference. Two of the judges gave Conceicao (17-2-1) seven of the 12 rounds but because of the knockdowns their tallies read 113-113. The third judge favored Navarrete 114-112.

If he had won, Navarrete was expected to fight Top Rank's newest signee O'Shaquie Foster next. Foster holds the WBC version of the title. But with his gutsy effort, Conceicao, a three-time Olympian and 2016 gold medalist, built a compelling case for a rematch.

Other Bouts

On paper, the 10-round welterweight contest between Brian Norman Jr (24-0 heading in) and former two-time national amateur champion Quinton Randall (13-0-1) shaped up as the most competitive fight on the card, but styles make fights and the seemingly well-matched encounter turned into a snoozer. Norman, a second-generation prizefighter and at age 23 (next week) the younger man by 10 years, won a clear-cut decision, prevailing by scores of 98-92 and 99-91 twice.

The eight-round bantamweight contest between Floyd "Cashflow" Diaz and Max Ornelas for Las Vegas intra-city bragging rights went to Diaz (10-0, 3 KOs) who exploited two early knockdowns to win a split decision. The scores were 78-72 and 77-73 for Diaz; 76-74 for Ornelas who came on late, but too late, and fell to 15-2-1.

DC-area middleweight Troy Isley, a Tokyo Olympian, improved to 11-0 (4) with a hard-earned unanimous decision over Vladimir Hernandez (14-6). The 34-year-old Hernandez, a noted spoiler who is much better than his record, fought the second half of the fight with blood flowing from a cut over his right eye. All three judges had it 77-75 for Isley. Scoring off the TV, this reporter had it 77-75 for the other guy.

Charismatic Las Vegas lightweight Emiliano Vargas, the son of the former U.S. Olympian and two-division title-holder Fernando Vargas, dismantled Brandon Vargas, ending the contest with a chopping right hand at the 57-second mark of round two. Vargas improved to 8-0 (7 KOs). Mendoza falls to 6-3.

In a 6-round battle between six-foot-seven heavyweights, Jackson Murray pitched a shutout over Steven Torres, winning 60-53 on all three cards. Murray (6-0, 4 KOs) decked Torres with a sweeping right hook in the final minute of round three, a round that Torres appeared to be winning. A 29-year-old Australian making his U.S. debut, Murray is trained by former light heavyweight contender Derrick Harmon who doubles as Bob Arum’s bodyguard. It was the first pro loss for Pennsylvania’s Torres (6-1-1).

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images
Rather than watch this sleeper, I rewatched Hagler vs. Marcos Geraldo from 1980 on YouTube. This was Hagler’s final non-title bout and a spirited little ten round tussle. If Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns could have had a boxing baby, it would’ve looked like the lanky Latino Geraldo. The offerings of the current boxing menu continue to be easily ignored by me. There’s just nothing there. Somebody or something always comes along so I’m not giving up my love of the sport just putting it on hold.