NEWARK, New Jersey – Shakur Stevenson promised to “beat the sh*t” out of Robson Conceicao as they talked trash on a stage Wednesday at Prudential Center.
Brazil’s Conceicao calmly countered in Portuguese, which didn’t faze Stevenson because he couldn’t understand what his upcoming opponent said. Conceicao claimed afterward that Stevenson is overconfident, that the brash, unbeaten southpaw doesn’t realize how difficult their fight will be.
“Shakur is definitely underestimating me,” Conceicao told BoxingScene.com through a translator. “That’s gonna be the biggest mistake of his career, underestimating a man like me, who’s really willing and hungry to win. He never really faced anyone like me, an athlete of this caliber, and that’s gonna be his downfall.”
Conceicao’s confidence notwithstanding, Caesars Sportsbook listed Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) as a whopping 30-1 favorite Thursday. Stevenson’s status as the heavy favorite didn’t change even after the 2016 Olympic silver medalist came in 1.6 pounds overweight and gave up his WBC super featherweight and WBO junior lightweight titles.
The aforementioned lopsided odds are a byproduct of Stevenson’s ascent to the elite level over the past three years, as well as the opposite outcomes of their fights with Oscar Valdez.
Valdez overcame Conceicao’s strong start last September 10 to win a unanimous decision and retained his WBC super featherweight title at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona. Stevenson dealt Valdez his first defeat in his following fight, a 12-round, 130-pound title unification bout April 30 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Despite how they fared versus Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs), Stevenson respects Conceicao (17-1, 8 KOs). Stevenson is just completely confident that the 2016 Olympic gold medalist can’t contend with his boxing brain and diverse skill set.
“I think that he offers a great challenge,” Stevenson told BoxingScene.com. “He’s not a bad fighter. I can’t take nothing away from him. He’s awkward. He’s not an easy style to deal with for anybody. But at the end of the day, he’s going against me, so I’m not too much worried.”
The 12-round bout between Stevenson, 25, and Conceicao, 33, will headline a two-bout broadcast scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN. Keyshawn Davis (5-0, 4 KOs), a highly regarded lightweight prospect from Norfolk, Virginia, is set to oppose Omar Tienda (25-5, 18 KOs), of Guadalupe, Mexico, in ESPN’s eight-round co-feature.
Undercard coverage is scheduled to begin on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.