By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Shakur Stevenson seemed determined Saturday night to display punching power his critics insist he doesn’t possess.
Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, continued the solid start to his professional career by stopping Oscar Mendoza in the second round of a completely one-sided featherweight fight in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The 20-year-old Stevenson (4-0, 2 KOs) consistently landed to an overmatched Mendoza’s body and picked him apart until referee Sparkle Lee stopped the beating at 1:38 of the second round.
ESPN televised Stevenson’s victory as part of the Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux undercard.
“Keep watching me,” Stevenson told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna in the ring following his win. “They’re gonna keep disrespecting me and I’m gonna keep picking it up.”
The southpaw from Newark, New Jersey, became the first of Mendoza’s seven professional opponents to beat him by knockout or technical knockout. The 26-year-old Mendoza, of Santa Maria, California, slipped to 4-3.
“Everything was working tonight,” Stevenson said. “Everything I threw landed. This week there’s been a lot said about me holding. I’m not a fighter who holds. I’m a fighter.
“Working with Vasyl Lomachenko [in training camp] really helped me a lot. He’s one of the best fighters out there and I learned a lot working with him.”
Stevenson went after Mendoza as soon as the second round started, seemingly intent to not allow their fight to reach the third round.
Stevenson’s left-right combination backed Mendoza into the ropes in the first round. Stevenson began opening up on Mendoza later in the first round with an array of body and head shots.
Before Stevenson’s victory, Mikayla Mayer remained unbeaten by soundly out-boxing Nydia Feliciano in a four-round women’s lightweight fight.
The 27-year-old Mayer (3-0, 2 KOs), a 2016 Olympian from Los Angeles, won a majority decision, despite that she seemed in complete control throughout the fight. She defeated Feliciano (9-9-3) by the same score, 40-36, on two cards, but a third judge had it even (38-38).
“I hit her hard,” Mayer said. “She fought back. I thought I did a lot of things well in the fight. I’m ready to move on to six-rounders now.”
The Bronx’s Feliciano, 29, has lost five of her past seven fights. She still hasn’t been knocked out during a pro career that began May 2009.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.