Jamel Herring and Shakur Stevenson have clearly conveyed to Bob Arum that they want Oscar Valdez next after a fight they each expect to win October 23 in Atlanta.
Mexico’s Valdez also stated following his recent points victory over Robson Conceicao that he intends to face the Herring-Stevenson winner next. Those preferences from three of boxing’s best 130-pounders have encouraged their promoter to make Valdez versus the Herring-Stevenson winner in what would be a 130-pound championship unification fight at some point early in 2022.
Putting that fight together shouldn’t be all that difficult because Arum’s company, Top Rank Inc., promotes Herring, Stevenson and Valdez.
“Unlike what people think, that the promoter is a puppeteer, that’s not the case,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “The promoter, at least a good promoter, which I would hope I would fall into that category, listens to what the fighters want and tries to effectuate their wishes. And it seems to me that both of these guys, Shakur and Herring, wanna fight Valdez. And Valdez wants to fight the winner of Shakur and Herring, so I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen.”
Stevenson (16-0, 8 KOs), a former WBO featherweight champ from Newark, New Jersey, is consistently listed by odds-makers as a 4-1 favorite to beat Cincinnati’s Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) in their 12-round fight for Herring’s WBO junior lightweight title next month at State Farm Arena. The 24-year-old Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is the WBO’s mandatory challenger for the 35-year-old Herring’s title.
“I’ve listened to both fighters in Atlanta, Shakur and Herring,” Arum said in reference to a press conference September 9 at the site of their fight. “And they each talk about wanting to fight Valdez. And Valdez said [last] Friday that he wants to fight the winner of their fight. So, if that’s the way the fighters are going, I’ll make it happen.”
Arum also believes Valdez deserved the unanimous-decision win against Brazil’s Conceicao (16-1, 8 KOs) that the WBC super featherweight champion was awarded September 10 at Casino Del Sol’s AVA Amphitheater in Tucson, Arizona.
One judge, Stephen Blea, publicly admitted that his score – 117-110 for Valdez – was entirely too wide. The two other judges, Omar Mintun and Chris Tellez, each scored their 12-round fight 115-112 for Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs), who benefited from a questionable point deduction in the ninth round, when Conceicao lightly hit him behind his head.
“I had Conceicao winning four out of the first five rounds,” Arum said. “And then I gave Valdez all the rest of the rounds. Now you can argue that Conceicao won the first five rounds, but I gave him four of the first five. Even if he won the first five rounds, it was clear from the sixth round on that it was all Valdez. I mean Conceicao stopped fighting and started clowning. How do you expect to win those rounds, doing what he did?”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.