Edwin De Los Santos spent countless months in the gym as he prepared for the biggest fight of his pugilistic life. He threw thudding left hands against the heavy bag, destroyed the speed bag, and worked on his smooth counter-punching.
By the time his showdown against Shakur Stevenson crept up on him, the crafty Dominican believed he crossed all of his t’s and dotted his i’s. But, after 12 incredibly frustrating rounds, De Los Santos has come to the conclusion that he forgot to work on his foot speed.
In front of a decent crowd this past Thursday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stevenson was far more defensive than normal. He stood on the outside, popped De Los Santos’ head back several times with a mundane jab, then proceeded to get out of the way once things got too heated.
At times, De Los Santos threw his hands up in frustration. Joining him in that emotion was the crowd as boos cascaded upon them.
No matter how hard he tried, De Los Santos found it impossible to land a clean shot on the former Olympic silver medalist. Once the final bell rang, De Los Santos didn’t have a single bruise on his face. Although he didn’t take much damage, he also wasn’t able to inflict any.
Following 36 minutes of lackluster action, Stevenson walked away with a close unanimous decision victory and the vacant WBC lightweight title. While De Los Santos may have left the arena beltless, he believes that, at least figuratively speaking, he earned the respect of everyone around the world.
“I came to fight, he came for a track meet,” said De Los Santos on the ESPN telecast. “He was gifted a title but I am the champion of the people.”
Well before their showdown turned into a snooze fest, oddsmakers were under the impression that Stevenson would pull out the win impressively.
In addition to their feelings, practically everyone in the know shared that very sentiment. At no point has Stevenson seemed vulnerable in the ring. His offense, while not pernicious, has always been effective. His defense also speaks for itself.
By and large, his defense was as crafty and sturdy as it’s always been but the tenuous effort he displayed when he was in attack mode is something that left many wanting more.
In the eyes of many, Stevenson is an otherworldly talent and a pound-for-pound star but, after sharing 36 dull minutes with him, De Los Santos doesn't believe Stevenson is as good as advertised. In fact, despite suffering defeat, De Los Santos doesn’t consider Stevenson a better fighter than he is.
“I’m above his level. Shakur Stevenson decided not to fight.”