By Dan Ambrose: Oscar Valdez is receiving criticism over his performance last Saturday night in losing by a one-sided 12-round unanimous decision against the defensive master Shakur Stevenson in their super featherweight unification fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Valdez allowed Stevenson to hold his right arm extended far in front of him the entire night, failing to knock it down. Shakur’s illegal stiff-arm allowed him to subjugate Valdez in an embarrassingly one-sided fight.
Boxing fans wanted to see the WBC 130-lb Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) put it on the line, pressure WBO champion Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs), and go out on his shield if necessary to get the victory.
Instead of going the extra mile by using a scorched earth approach to get the victory, Valdez, 31, adopted the Canelo Alvarez high guard plodding style and wound up getting picked apart by Stevenson.
In training camp, Valdez’s trainer Eddy Reynoso should have recognized that the Canelo-sque high guard plodding style was a miserable recipe for failure. Still, sadly, he lacked the foresight to predict what a wreck this foolish approach would be.
The result saw Stevenson toy with Valdez, knocking him down in the sixth en route to winning by the scores 117-110, 118-109, and 118-109.
In hindsight, Valdez would have been better off abandoning his high guard after the first round when it was clear that he had no hope of winning with that approach.
“Oscar Valdez, it didn’t look like he understood what he was dealing with,” said Teddy Atlas on the Fight Game, talking about Oscar Valdez’s loss to Shakur Stevenson last Saturday night.
“Don’t argue that it’s a little bit boring. He doesn’t have a scintillating style,” Atlas aid about Shakur. “That’s his style. I said [before the fight] that Valdez has a more exciting style. When he’s matched against the right guy, it’s pretty exciting.
“Stevenson a more subdued style, not an exciting style. It doesn’t mean he can’t be in an exciting fight, but you better have the right guy in there.
“Stevenson is a thoughtful young person; he thinks things out, he’s cerebral, and he’s careful, and he has a right to be careful. He’s a guy that understands that you’re supposed to hit and not get hit.
“That’s a good thing. Valdez accepts in his mind that you’re going to have to take some to get some. Stevenson doesn’t really think that way. Stevenson thinks that it should be a one-way street when it comes to that. ‘I should do all the hitting, and you should do all the missing.’
“That’s his mentality, and we’ve had great fighters in the past with that mentality. Like when Muhammad Ali when he was young, there were a lot of fights that weren’t exciting.
“Ali was too fast, too smart, too cerebral, too quick with his hands & his feet, and too cognizant of the fact of what the sweet science is all about. Hit and not get hit; that was Ali,” said Atlas.