Initially, Shakur Stevenson exuded an overwhelming amount of confidence in Oscar Valdez’s ability to get the job done against Robson Conceicao. However, as the two locked horns during their September of 2021 showdown, Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) was stunned by the manner in which Conceicao was dominating the former two-division belt holder.
Nevertheless, to Valdez’s credit, he upped his aggression in the second half of their bout, resulting in Conceicao suffering the lone defeat of his career. With Stevenson just a few weeks away from taking on the Brazilian in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, the 25-year-old is still bemused by Conceicao’s original game plan against Valdez.
“Me, personally, I felt like he let off the gas,” said Stevenson during an interview with BoxingScene.com. “He came out blazing in the first couple of rounds, he came out on fire basically. And as the fight went on, I don’t know if he gassed out but he started moving too much. He started letting Valdez gain momentum and Valdez picked up the pace. I thought it could’ve been a draw.”
Immediately following his disputed victory, Valdez would have his championship status stripped away at the hands of Stevenson. Conceicao, on the other hand, has rebounded nicely, scoring a lopsided unanimous decision victory over Xavier Martinez earlier this year.
As the former Olympic silver medalist gazes upon his pound-for-pound-worthy resume, he recognizes that Conceicao brings a unique style and flavor to the table. Although on paper, it would appear as though Valdez should be acknowledged as his stiffest test, considering the overall boxing ability of Conceicao, Stevenson is convinced that he could present him with even more issues than Valdez did.
“Maybe,” said Stevenson when asked if Conceicao could be a more difficult opponent than Valdez. “Stylistically, he should be but at the end of the day, you gotta be able to adjust to any style. He’s gonna try to outbox me, that’s my game at the end of the day.”
While lauded for his defensive acumen and all-around skills, Stevenson has openly confessed that getting into a back-and-forth battle of the minds against Conceicao doesn’t interest him. Instead, the slick-hitting southpaw plans on roughing his man up, before handing him a memorable beating.
“I ain’t even really planning on going in there and having a technical boxing match. I’m going in there to beat him up.”