Shakur Stevenson vs. Oscar Valdez Boxing Odds, Pick & Prediction: Bet a Late Finish (Saturday, April 30)
Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images. Pictured: Oscar Valdez (L) and Shakur Stevenson (R) face-off at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
- Undefeated junior lightweight boxing champions Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez will meet in a unification bout in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
- Stevenson enters the fight as a -900 favorite over Valez, but Raheem Palmer sees value in betting a method of victory prop.
- Find his in-depth boxing analysis and betting pick below.
Stevenson vs. Valdez Odds
The last time we saw Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) in the ring, he answered all his critics with a dominant 10th-round TKO victory over former champ Jamel Herring to win the WBO junior lightweight title. The win cemented Stevenson as a star and The Ring’s No. 1 Junior Lightweight.
Six months later, the 24-year old Stevenson is back in the ring for the biggest fight of his career as he takes on on WBC junior lightweight champion Oscar Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) in a highly anticipated junior lightweight unification bout between two undefeated fighters at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. With the vacant Ring Magazine junior lightweight championship also on the line, there’s extra incentive in this unification bout.
Valdez captured the WBC junior lightweight title with an upset winn over Miguel Berchelt in February 2021, then followed that up with an unanimous decision win over Robson Conceicao in September.
Still, the betting market isn’t giving the 31-year old Valdez much of a chance as oddsmakers opened Shakur as -360 favorite and he has since been bet up to as high as -900 giving him an implied 90% chance at winning this fight. With the over/under priced at 10.5 rounds and heavily juiced to the over, oddsmakers are expecting this fight to at least reach the championship rounds.
So where’s the betting value on tonight’s junior lightweight unification bout?
Let’s analyze and find out!
A Star in the Making?
Stevenson is The Ring’s No. 1 ranked lightweight for a reason. He’s one of the most technically sound boxers in the sport with the reputation of being extremely hard to hit.
You’d be hard pressed to find many fights where the 24-year old has been out-landed by his opponent and he comes into this fight against Valdez with all the advantages as the younger fighter who is also bigger (5-foot-7 compared to 5-foot-5), has the longer reach (68 inches to 66 inches) and has faster hands, feet and reflexes.
Stevenson dominated Herring in his last fight, out-landing “Semper Fi” 164-87 in total punches with 99 power punches to Herring’s 65, according to CompuBox tracking.
Although it was disappointing to see Stevenson not get the stoppage in his June 2021 fight against Jeremiah Nakathila, he out-landed him by a ridiculous margin (114-28) allowing Nakathila to land just 12% of his punches per CompuBox.
That’s been a theme throughout much of Stevenson’s career as he is a defensive-minded fighter in the same vein as Floyd Mayweather. However, his style can lead to less-than-exciting fights for casual fans given his ability to hit and not get hit, and turn defense into offense in conjunction with not having one punch knockout power that excites fans. Still, his speed, timing and accuracy are an issue for most opponents and that could be the case for Valdez here.
Valdez isn’t going to out-box Stevenson, his only shot to win this lies in his ability to hurt him. Valdez pulled off a shocking one-punch knockout against Berchelt, but that kind of opportunity likely won’t be there against Stevenson.
WHAT A KNOCKOUT 😱 #BercheltValdez @ESPNRingside pic.twitter.com/on9A9lI2SK
— ESPN (@espn) February 21, 2021
Valdez comes off a controversial 12-round decision over Conceicao in a fight where many believed Conceicao was the true winner. Valdez struggled with Conceicao’s ability to move and control the distance and was out-landed 141-83 in total punches, 103-64 in power punches and 38-18 in jabs, according to CompuBox.
While many have argued that Conceicao faded towards the end of the fight, it’s clear Valdez had trouble catching up to Conceicao. If Valdez couldn’t catch Conceicao, how can we expect him to catch Stevenson?
Stevenson vs. Valdez Pick
Stevenson is the superior talent and it’s telling that he’s a -900 favorite in a fight against a fellow undefeated fighter. This is not the 50-50 fight that it is being promoted as — these two men are in two completely different classes.
That said, making a profit on this fight is quite difficult and largely depends on the Valdez’s approach. Stevenson has the reputation for making fights boring, so picking him to win by decision will be the popular choice.
However, I think we could see Valdez press the action and find himself in a spot where he’s getting hit too much for the fight to continue. Boxing is a young man’s sport and Valdez could be on the wrong side of 30 with Stevenson entering his prime.
Valdez can be one dimensional at times, coming forward without regard, so I’m expecting Stevenson to win by a late stoppage on the accumulation of punishment for a longer payout. However, it’s worth it to note that Stevenson is type of fighter who could potentially sit on a lead and not risk losing if he’s up significantly, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him box his way to a 12 round decision.
Still, I’ll take a shot on the stoppage in what could be the the fight that pushes Stevenson into superstardom.
The Pick: Shakur Stevenson KO/TKO +260
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