By Keith Idec
There was some concern before Shakur Stevenson stepped on the scale Friday afternoon that the undefeated featherweight contender might not make weight for his fight Saturday night.
Stevenson alleviated those doubts when he officially weighed 126 pounds, the featherweight limit, on the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board’s scale. His opponent, Alberto Guevara, came in slightly lighter, at 125¼ pounds.
Their 10-round fight will headline an ESPN broadcast Saturday night from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Stevenson’s hometown.
The 28-year-old Guevara (27-4, 12 KOs), of El Cajon, California, is the third opponent for Stevenson since his homecoming officially was announced at a press conference a month ago in Newark.
Stevenson’s original opponent, Miami’s Hairon Socarras (22-0-3, 14 KOs), withdrew for undisclosed reasons a few days after the initial press conference June 10. Colombia’s Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs) replaced Socarras, but he pulled out due to an illness.
Guevara took this fight on two weeks’ notice.
“I feel like a lot of people watched my last two fights, and they see I’ve been getting stronger and developing power,” Stevenson told BoxingScene.com. “Guys is not ready to get in the ring with that. They see that my last performance [against Christopher Diaz], I looked good. I can out-box you, make you look bad. I can do everything, so they don’t really wanna get in the ring with me.”
The 22-year-old Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is the mandatory challenger for WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (). Assuming the heavily favored Stevenson wins Saturday night, he hopes his next fight is a shot at Mexico’s Valdez or the next highest-ranked contender if Valdez opts to give up his title and move up to 130 pounds.
ESPN’s telecast is set to start Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.
In the opening bout, Chicago’s Joshua Greer Jr. (20-1-1, 12 KOs) and Russia’s Nikolai Potapov (20-1-1, 18 KOs) will square off in an IBF bantamweight elimination match.
Greer, who’s ranked No. 4 by the IBF, officially weighed 117¼ pounds Friday, same as the 11th-ranked Potapov.
Below are the weights for the six other fights on Saturday’s card, which will start streaming on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT:
Josue Vargas (13-1, 8 KOs), Bronx, New York, 141½ pounds vs. Manuel Damairas Lopez (14-3-1, 7 KOs), Denver, 142¼ pounds, 8 rounds, welterweights.
Vito Mielnicki Jr. (pro debut), Roseland, New Jersey, 146 pounds vs. Tamarcus Smith (2-2, 2 KOs), Mississippi, 4 rounds, welterweights.
John Bauza (12-0, 5 KOs), North Bergen, New Jersey, 138¼ pounds vs. Angel Sarinana (10-8-2, 4 KOs), Durango, Mexico, 8 rounds, junior welterweights.
Julian Rodriguez (16-0, 10 KOs), Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, 140½ pounds vs. Hevinson Herrera (24-17-1, 18 KOs), Barranquilla, Colombia, 140 pounds, 6 rounds, junior welterweights.
Joseph Adorno (12-0, 10 KOs), Allentown, Pennsylvania, 134½ pounds vs. Adriano Ramirez (10-3, 6 KOs), Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, 134¼ pounds, 8 rounds, lightweights.
Vijender Singh (10-0, 7 KOs), Bhiwani, India, 169 pounds vs. Mike Snider (13-5-3, 8 KOs), Flemington, West Virginia, 8 rounds, super middleweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.