LAS VEGAS – Oscar Valdez stood stone-faced and didn’t utter a word when Shakur Stevenson stood before him on a stage Friday at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
While Valdez was strictly business, Stevenson smiled and talked some trash to the rival he swears won’t appear to belong in the ring with him Saturday night.
Moments earlier, Stevenson stepped on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s scale at exactly 130 pounds. Valdez officially weighed in slightly lighter, at 129.6 pounds, for their 12-round, 130-pound title unification fight.
ESPN will air Stevenson-Valdez as the main event of a tripleheader scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET from MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Stevenson, 24, and Valdez, 31, will fight for Stevenson’s WBO junior lightweight title and Valdez’s WBC super featherweight championship.
Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist from Newark, New Jersey, will make the first defense of a WBO belt he won when he stopped Jamel Herring (23-3, 11 KOs) in the 10th round of a one-sided fight October 23 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Valdez, a two-time Olympian from Nogales, Mexico, will defend his WBC crown for the second time.
MGM Grand’s sportsbook listed Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) as a 7-1 favorite Friday to defeat Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs), a former WBO featherweight champ.
ESPN; ESPN Deportes (10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. ET)
Keyshawn Davis (4-0, 3 KOs), Norfolk, Virginia, 136.2 pounds vs. Esteban Sanchez (18-1, 8 KOs), Conroe, Texas, 136.6 pounds, 8 rounds, junior welterweights.
Nico Ali Walsh (4-0, 3 KOs), Las Vegas, 159.2 pounds vs. Alejandro Ibarra (7-2, 2 KOs), Denver, 160.4 pounds, 4 rounds, middleweights.
ESPN+ (6:30 p.m. ET; 3:30 p.m. PT)
Raymond Muratalla (13-0, 11 KOs), Fontana, California, 134.8 pounds vs. Jeremy Hill (16-2, 11 KOs), New Orleans, 134 pounds, 8 rounds, lightweights.
Andres Cortes (16-0, 9 KOs), Las Vegas, 131.8 pounds vs. Alexis del Bosque (18-5-1, 9 KOs), Dallas, 131.6 pounds, 8 rounds, lightweights.
Troy Isley (4-0, 2 KOs), Alexandria, Virginia, 157.4 pounds vs. Anthony Hannah (3-2, 2 KOs), Augusta, Georgia, 156.8 pounds, 6 rounds, middleweights.
Abdullah Mason (1-0, 1 KO), Cleveland, 136.4 pounds vs. Luciano Ramos (1-2, 0 KOs), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 137.8 pounds, 4 rounds, junior welterweights.
Antoine Cobb (1-0, 1 KO), Chicago, 143.6 pounds vs. Jaylan Philipps (1-2, 1 KO), Atlanta, 142.4 pounds, 4 rounds, welterweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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