GLENDALE, Arizona – Emanuel Navarrete never gave much thought to a fight versus Shakur Stevenson or really anyone else at lightweight.
The idea of such a challenge is fine with the reigning WBO junior lightweight titlist, who was previously more focused on validating his status as a three-division title claimant.
It was mission accomplished on the latter for Navarrete (38-1, 31KOs), who turned away countryman and former two-division titlist Oscar Valdez (31-2, 23KOs). Their terrific all-Mexico battle saw the streaking 28-year-old claimant prevail by scores of 116-112, 118-110 and 119-109 Saturday at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Navarrete has already claimed the WBO featherweight and junior lightweight titles previously left behind when Newark’s Stevenson (20-0, 10KOs) outgrew each division and moved up in weight. The question now is whether he’d catch up to the unbeaten American at some point.
“The fight wasn’t really on my mind but it’s a fight I would entertain down the road,” Navarrete told BoxingScene.com and other reporters after his win over Valdez. “It’s not a fight I really thought about but it’s something I’m happy to discuss with my team.
“I’d also want to see if Shakur intends to fight someone like me as well.”
Comparisons were immediately made of their respective wins over Nogales’ Valdez, a two-time Mexican Olympian and former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist. Stevenson soundly outboxed Valdez over twelve rounds in their WBC/WBO 130-pound unification bout last April 30 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The wide disparity on the scorecards left greater interpretation as to the means of dominance enjoyed by Navarrete in his own win over Valdez. The action was competitive from round to round but far more physically taxing on Valdez, who was believed to suffer a broken right orbital bone.
Whereas Valdez was more than willing to trade with Navarrete, Stevenson would pose a far greater stylistic threat. The same would have to be true in reverse, should there be another move up in weight.
“I would obviously have to take a different approach for a fight with Shakur,” admitted Navarrete. “I’d have to adjust my technique.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox