Boxing is back with Shakur Stevenson vs. Felix Caraballo.
With boxing on the ropes for the last several months, Top Rank on ESPN is ready to make a splash with Shakur Stevenson vs. Felix Caraballo on Tuesday, June 9. WBO featherweight champion Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) fights Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs) live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 7 p.m ET.
Stevenson is trying his hand at the super featherweight division, and he had a lot to say during the media conference call leading up to the fight.
On Thursday, June 4, Stevenson, Caraballo and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum addressed the media via a conference call. Arum stole the show as he unveiled his vision for boxing over the next several months, but Stevenson and Caraballo had something to say as well.
Before the pandemic hit, Stevenson was set to defend his WBO title for the first time against Miguel Marriaga. That fight was scrapped, but Stevenson has the opportunity of having one of the first boxing bouts since the country went on lockdown.
The young 22-year-old Stevenson is a massive favorite over the unknown Caraballo. Despite the heavy odds, Caraballo’s spirits are high, and he believes in his abilities.
“I know that if we win, we could open all the doors,” said Caraballo. “We could have more fights and better fights.”
With the odds stacked against Caraballo, it would only be natural for him to be feeling stress. However, he maintains that’s not the case.
“I don’t got [sic] no pressure,” said Caraballo. “I feel that this moment, I have to give it all. This is a great opportunity. I’m gonna fight and give it all on June 9. I know that I’m going in with a great boxer.”
This is Caraballo’s first time fighting outside of his home of Puerto Rico. Footage of Caraballo is limited, but from what Stevenson has seen, he’s not concerned.
“I watched like one around,” said Stevenson. “I seen [sic] everything I needed to see in that one round. I see a lot of holes in his game. I’m going to expose it.”
With coronavirus, the murder of George Floyd, and the political unrest present within the U.S., Stevenson has tried his hardest to stay focused on boxing.
“Honestly, I’ve been more focused on my fight,” Stevenson told FanSided. “I understand everything that going on, and I’m with my people with everything that’s going on. I got a fight coming up, so I’ve been in the gym every day. Going home. When I go home, I’m watching boxing. I’ve been in camp, so I’m not too focused on anything that’s going on the outside. I more locked in on what’s going on the inside as far as boxing.”
Stevenson hasn’t fought since winning the WBO title against Joet Gonzalez in October of 2019. He doesn’t think the time off will impact his performance.
“Naw, I don’t think the time off is going to do anything because I’m a gym rat,” said Stevenson. “I’m always in the gym. Me being a gym rat and in the gym, I’ll probably get off a little rust in the first two rounds. Other than that, I’m ready to go.”
Stevenson is unsure which division he wants to focus on, but he’s already thinking about his chances against the top super featherweights in the world.
“I think that the champions at 130 is [sic] all decent fighters. I already picture myself with them in the ring. I [sic] already been thinking about that. I’ve been thinking about being in the ring with Oscar Valdez, Berchelt, Santa Crus, Jojo [Diaz]. Even Jamel [Herring] if I had to.”
Time will tell which division Stevenson calls home, but his performance against Caraballo will be a determining factor.