Shakur Stevenson Is Preparing To Expose Felix Caraballo
At 22, Shakur Stevenson has a tough task ahead of him. The WBO Featherweight Champion will be in charge of leading Top Rank’s return to prominence after months of inactivity due to the coronavirus. With opponents changing regularly, “Newark” is not concerned. In fact, he is embracing the opportunity.
Stevenson (13-0) is set to face off against Felix Caraballo inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas today, June 9. A non-title affair, Stevenson is ready to take out his aggression on his relatively unknown opponent. He was supposed to face Miguel Marriaga on March 14 inside Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. As a result of the pandemic, the fight was postponed. Stevenson’s original opponent for the June fight, Rafael Rivera, had to recently back out as a result of visa issues.
Even with everything shut down as a result of the virus, Stevenson was not worried about ring rust. During a Top Rank conference call, Stevenson felt confident in his ability.
“I don’t think time off is going to do anything because I’m a gym rat and I’m always in the gym,” Stevenson stated. “So, me being a gym rat and in the gym, I probably got to get off a little rust in the first to two rounds, but other than that, I’m ready to go. I’m in the gym every day, ain’t no way I’m having rust just from being off for eight months and not been sparring.
“I did a full training camp on March 14 and then got right back in the gym, took like a month off, and then got in the gym. So, I’m a gym rat. I don’t think it’s going to affect me.”
The silver medalist in the 2016 Olympics made his professional debut in 2017. An increase in competition saw Stevenson win the WBO-NABO Featherweight Title. Back in October, he beat Joet Gonzalez for the vacant WBO Title.
Caraballo (13-1-2) is on a five-fight win streak and has nine wins via knockout. The fighter from Puerto Rico’s last bout was a TKO-win against Sergio Lopez back in January. Stevenson doesn’t seem impressed and is looking to move past “La Sombra” in order to focus on other goals.
“No, I ain’t never heard of him before,” Stevenson stated regarding his opponent. “I watched like one round. I see everything I needed to see in that one round, and I see a lot of holding in his game, so I’m going to expose it… I noticed that he’s nowhere near on my level. I expect him to come out loud and try to land a big shot.”
Stevenson is interested in life after 130 pounds. A 126-pounder, “Sugar’s” growth is extremely important. With comparisons to Floyd Mayweather, Stevenson is looking to prove he can reach that level.
Top Rank’s main card begins tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.