There hasn’t been much footage of Felix Caraballo available for Shakur Stevenson to study since he learned last month that he’ll box Caraballo on Tuesday night.
All Stevenson needed was one round, though, to determine that his unknown opponent won’t pose much of a threat to his unblemished record. Those three minutes convinced Stevenson that numerous online sports books have listed him as at least a 100-1 favorite over Caraballo for good reason.
“I seen everything I needed to see in that one round, and kept it moving from there,” Stevenson said on a conference call Thursday. “I see a lot of holes in his game, so I’m gonna expose it.”
Stevenson had never even heard of Caraballo before the 33-year-old Puerto Rican accepted what is by far the biggest opportunity of his six-year pro career. Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs) has never boxed outside of Puerto Rico as a pro, but he didn’t hesitate to accept this difficult fight versus Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs).
Like Stevenson, who owns the WBO 126-pound title, Caraballo is a featherweight who has moved up four pounds for this non-title bout at MGM Grand’s Conference Center Ballroom in Las Vegas. Caraballo, who fought to draws in each of his first two professional fights, has won five straight bouts since suffering his only loss – an eight-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Pedro Medina (12-1, 8 KOs) in January 2018 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Caraballo’s hometown.
Nevertheless, Caraballo hasn’t fought someone as skillful or accomplished as the 22-year-old Stevenson, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I noticed that he’s nowhere near on my level,” Stevenson said. “I expect him to come wild, wide and try to land a big shot.”
ESPN will televise their 10-round, 130-pound encounter as the main event of a six-bout card scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT Tuesday. The card headlined by Stevenson-Caraballo will be the first televised boxing event to take place in the United States since March 13, when Showtime aired fights from Hinckley, Minnesota, just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought boxing to a standstill.
Stevenson was supposed to make the first defense of his WBO featherweight title against Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) on March 14 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York. That card was canceled the night of March 12 once the coronavirus crisis intensified.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.