TONIGHT at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT LIVE on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+
On a rare Thursday night, Shakur Stevenson takes on Edwin De Los Santos in the main event on ESPN/ESPN+ from Las Vegas, Nevada. The co-feature pits the always entertaining Emanuel Navarrete versus Robson Conceicao in what should be a great way to warm fans up for the headliner.
The only drawback to this card being broadcast on a Thursday is the start time of 10:30 EST. (especially for the east coasters). Prior to the doubleheader, hardcore fans will get a treat with a couple of interesting matchups streaming live on ESPN+. Sticking with the Las Vegas F1 theme for the week, the main question is, do these ‘B’ sides have the formula to be the ones to stop the favorites in their tracks?
Let’s begin with the bill-topper, which hopefully is a two-way bout at some point during the rounds. The betting lines suggest that Edwin De Los Santos doesn’t really have much of a chance sitting at +700 and above. Of course, stranger outcomes have occurred, but either way, let’s not forget to give De Los Santos his just due for actually taking this fight. Let us not lose sight of the fact multiple boxers decided to pass on a fight with Shakur Stevenson.
De Los Santos has the ability to get his work done on the outside, at somewhat close range, and all the way inside. He has a strong left hook that lands to the head and body of his opponent. Even landing punches on the arms of Stevenson would have an effect, so it’s important for Edwin to be fairly active to help occupy Shakur’s offense. William Foster III was able to box nicely for a good chunk of the rounds against De Los Santos, giving Edwin his only loss via split decision. De Los Santos needs to use his jab without over jabbing if that makes sense, due to Shakur’s counter-punching and timing.
As we know, Shakur Stevenson is more than capable of fighting as an outside boxer, but in recent bouts, he’s been more aggressive. At times beyond an obvious style matchup, it’s almost as if Shakur decides what manner in which he wants to fight. Edwin has poked the bear during the lead-up to this ESPN main event, so maybe that will spark Shakur’s aggressiveness. One thing is for certain De Los Santos can’t fade in the 2nd half of this fight, as we’ve seen in the past. The bottom line is Shakur has too many paths to victory, and depending on which one he chooses will determine how much fun it will be to watch.
My Official Prediction is Shakur Stevenson by Unanimous Decision.
The other bout on this double-dip broadcast should be a good TV scrap, at the very least. Don’t get me wrong the betting odds aren’t all that different with Robson Coneicao a lesser underdog than De Los Santos. Emanuel Navarrete is a hard nut to crack when it comes to his unorthodox way of fighting. He has a very high punch rate and also seems to be getting better at what he brings to the table overall.
The long-distance upper cuts and looping shots come from angles that you don’t see from many boxers. Navarrete’s best trait may be how he can change the trajectory of his punches in mid-flight. In his last outing against Oscar Valdez, Emanuel showed off some decent footwork and head movement. He would move out of harm’s way yet still be in punching range which flustered Valdez.
Robson Conceicao is a more skilled boxer than given credit. His jab is quality along with a good right hand he mixes to the body and head. Another item to Robson’s game is being a little rough. He’s had points deducted on separate occasions so one has to wonder if he will attempt to muck this thing up to slow Navarrete’s normally hyper-speed pace. Although this boxing podcaster does think Conceicao is underrated, his lack of true punching power and shaky defense will be the reason he loses this fight.
My Official Prediction: Emanuel Navarrette by Unanimous Decision.
Side Note: ESPN+ features Brain Norman Jr. vs. Quinton Randall and Troy Isley vs. Vladimir Hernandez, along with prospects Abdullah Mason, Floyd Diaz, and Emiliano Vargas.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio