This Saturday October 26th marks what could be the beginning of the Shakur Stevenson era. The vacant WBO featherweight title on the line, which was left behind by Oscar Valdez (26-0, 20KOs) when he moved up to 130lbs. Shakur Stevenson (12-0, 7KOs) will take on fellow undefeated fighter Joet Gonzalez (23-0, 14KOs), in Reno, Nevada. This fight will pit the number one and two ranked WBO featherweights in the division against one another.
Shakur Stephenson comes into this fight as the favorite (-470). A 2016 Olympic Silver medalist, whose had seven of his twelve professional victories com by way of knockout. His last win was this past July when he beat Alberto Guevera (27-5, 12KOs) by third round KO in his hometown of Newark, NJ. He has amassed those twelve wins in under three years as a professional. Even at this torrent pace Shakur’s patience has been wearing thin for a title shot. He not only uses his ability to box but is also a brawler when he needs to be. Stevenson calls himself “a young Mayweather” in the ring. Stevenson comes to this title fight with a heavy heart as his father passed away just last month. His main goal is to not let the moment get too big and come away with a title come Saturday night. If he stays on track, then plans of a unification at 126 pounds or moving up to 130 pounds are on the agenda.
On the other side of the ring is Joet Gonzalez who has taken a slightly slower approach as he has accumulated 23 wins over the past seven years. Gonzalez has stopped 8 of his last 10 opponents, including his most recent win over Manuel Avila (23-2-1, 8KOs) in July. Joet has trained hard, stating he has logged more rounds and sparred bigger opponents this time around. He’s pushed his body to the limit and is ready for war. The lesser known Joet, 27, is a composed fighter and will need to set the pace to win this fight. His ability to move around the ring and use the jab will be key to him having a chance at winning. The opportunity at hand and the disdain for Stevenson poses the same threat to Joet , potentially causing him to get too excited and stray from the game plan. However, he knows what can be down the road and plans to being home what’s rightfully his.
The final ingredient to make this a fight of the year contender is not the WBO title, not the undefeated records, but the bad blood. Stevenson has been dating Gonzalez’s younger sister, and fellow boxer, Jajaira Gonzalez for three years. He doesn’t just think Shakur isn’t good enough for his sister but that he has no class, is disrespectful, and has no morals. When Stevenson is asked about Joet he merely had a few choice words about him and that he just doesn’t like him. All the talking is almost done, the table set, family disputes aside, and we are in for another all out war this weekend. Final prediction: Shakur Stephenson by late KO.