LAS VEGAS – Shakur Stevenson emphasized numerous times Thursday night that he didn’t perform anywhere near his own high standards against Edwin De Los Santos.
The unbeaten Stevenson won their 12-round, 135-pound title bout by unanimous decision. The three-division champion called it “a bad performance,” though, and accepts that he’ll be intensely criticized for fighting so cautiously against a strong southpaw who blasted Stevenson for “running” throughout a main event ESPN televised from T-Mobile Arena.
Though critical of his own outing, Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) also pointed out that De Los Santos (16-2, 14 KOs) deserved some of the blame for the complete lack of action in a fight that left much of the announced crowd of 6,703 booing loudly at times.
“De Los Santos a good fighter,” Stevenson told a group of reporters after his win. “He was just being more so – y’all act like I was being [scared]. He was being [scared] than a motherf-----, too. It’s all good.”
Stevenson out-landed De Los Santos by 25 punches, but CompuBox counted only 65-of-209 connections overall for the Newark, New Jersey native. CompuBox credited the Dominican Republic’s De Los Santos for landing just 40-of-316 punches through 12 rounds.
According to CompuBox’s unofficial count, Stevenson landed five more power punches (19-of-54 to 14-of-99) and 20 more jabs (46-of-155 to 26-of-217).
Judges Tim Cheatham and David Sutherland had their fight even through eight rounds, 76-76 apiece, whereas Steve Weisfeld had Stevenson ahead 77-75 entering the ninth round. Cheatham and Weisfeld ultimately scored Stevenson a 116-112 winner and Sutherland had it slightly closer, 115-113 for the newly crowned WBC lightweight champion.
“I just had to take control,” Stevenson said. “It was a certain point in time where I told myself, ‘Take control. Don’t give him sh!t and make sure that I land when I get my opportunity.’ ”
Stevenson was repeatedly asked afterward about a reported injury to his left hand that might’ve limited him Thursday night. Bob Arum, Stevenson’s primary promoter, told BoxingScene.com on Friday that Stevenson dealt with a shoulder injury, among “various ailments,” during training camp, yet Stevenson wouldn’t address any physical limitations during their bout other than telling ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna in his post-fight interview that he “wasn’t feeling too good” before he entered the ring.
“I’m not giving y’all nothing, man,” Stevenson said. “Like I said, I’m not gonna make no excuses. I came here tonight, I did what I had to do. We came out victorious. Edwin is a hell of a fighter. I give him his credit. He got good defense and he’s a great fighter.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.