The time away from the ring and a new division did not stop Shakur Stevenson from continuing his dominant ways.
In front of an empty crowd inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Stevenson (14-0) dismantled Felix Caraballo. The gold medalist, who stated he didn’t watch tape of his opponent, would attack the body and face of Caraballo with such power, the after-effects of the shots could be heard all over the arena. In the end, a huge shot to the solar plexus ended the bout in the sixth.
“Everything about this fight week was different. After my last fight was canceled, I was happy to showcase my skills for all of the boxing fans,” Stevenson said after the fight. “He hit me with a couple shots, more than I’m used to, a couple jabs here and there. He was a tough guy, but I felt great in there after my training camp in Houston.”
Stevenson, who was the clear favorite, would showcase his clear and calculating shots throughout the bout. He would get past the defense of Caraballo, who could not shake off any of the WBO Featherweight Champion’s offense. Stevenson would hit a four-punch combination and forced a knockdown, even if it looked like Caraballo slipped. After round one ESPN had Stevenson landing 22 shots over 60 punches compared to Caraballo’s three out of 34.
Rounds two through four were all Stevenson. His leg strength was rock solid as he was not intimidated by any of Caraballo’s attempted shots. Stevenson then clipped the head of Caraballo and was just swinging away. He would then work his jab and continue to break through. Stevenson would hit uppercut shots on the inside and face.
It appeared Stevenson injured his hand before the sixth round but that did not stop the punches from coming. After an accidental below the belt shot, Stevenson didn’t miss a beat with combinations. Once the side shot hit, it was all over.
According to CompuBox, six of Stevenson’s ten landed punches in the last round were body shots. He had a 121-18 edge in punches landed.
“What a magnificent performance by Shakur Stevenson,” Top Rank’s Bob Arum stated. “He keeps on getting better, and rest assured, he is a future pound-for-pound superstar.”
The loss eliminated Caraballo’s (13-2-2) five-fight win streak dating back to 2018.
Stevenson now has eight wins via knockout and has five wins since 2019. This was his first fight since October 2019. Stevenson was supposed to face Miguel Marriaga on March 14 inside Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the fight was postponed. His original opponent for the June fight, Rafael Rivera, had to back out as a result of visa issues.
Main Card (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET)
Shakur Stevenson def. Felix Caraballo via round-six TKO (1:31)
Jared Anderson def. Johnnie Langston via round-three TKO (1:55)
Guido Vianello def. Don Haynesworth via first-round TKO (2:16)
Quatavious Cash def. Calvin Metcalf via technical decision (60-54, 60-55, 59-55)
Robeisy Ramirez def. Yeuri Andujar via first-round TKO (:54)