03
Jul
2020

Shakur Stevenson unsure of 126 return ahead of Felix Caraballo clash

Phil Jay 08/06/2020
Shakur Stevenson

Mikey Williams

WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson has discussed all things concerning his career as the talented American prepares to kick-off boxing during the pandemic.

Stevenson heads up to 130 pounds for a non-title fight on Tuesday evening inside the Top Rank ‘Bubble’ at the MGM Grand Conference Center Ballroom.

His opponent will be Felix Caraballo in what’s seen as an easing into the higher weight limit.

Talking about his forthcoming fight, Stevenson won’t decide yet if he will go back down to 126 and defend his title.

“I don’t know yet,” said Stevenson. “I got to see how I feel at 130, at making the 130 weight. That’d be a question I can answer better for you after the fight.

“So, right now, no, I can’t really give you a spot-on answer.

“I’d say it’s a little bit more comfortable, but I think that I’m really a 130-pounder, honestly what I’ve been feeling like, for sure.

“It actually was better than I thought it was gonna go. But it’s still work to get there. It’s not easy. I’m a really big 126.

On his previous bout being canceled as COVID-19 hit, Stevenson added: “It was really bad because of the fact that I trained eight weeks, spent a lot of money on training camp.

“Then to find out that I wasn’t getting paid, that kind of made me mad. To find out that I wasn’t fighting made me mad because I felt like I put a lot of work in, I felt like I was gonna perform really good. I was mad at that.

“So, it wasn’t a good week, but being around my family and friends kind of made it a lot better.”

Asked what he knew about Caraballo, Stevenson admitted he’s facing his rival blind.

“I ain’t never heard of him before,” he pointed out. “I watched like one round. I’ve seen everything I needed to see in that one round.

“I see a lot of holding in his game, so I’m going to expose it. I’ve noticed that he’s nowhere near on my level.

“I expect him to come out loud and try to land a big shot.”

Concluding on his now eight-month absence from the ring, Stevenson is keen to reignite his career.

“I don’t think time off is going to do anything because I’m a gym rat and I’m always in the gym. So, me being a gym rat and in the gym, I probably got to get off a little rust in the first to two rounds, but other than that, I’m ready to go.

“I’m in the gym every day, ain’t no way I’m having rust just from being off for eight months and not been sparring.

“I did a full training camp on March 14 and then got right back in the gym, took like a month off, and then got in the gym. So, I’m a gym rat. I don’t think it’s going to affect me.”


SHAKUR STEVENSON vs FELIX CARABALLO

For his part, Caraballo is ready to prove he’s got what it takes to cause the upset.

“I want to fight, and it’s not going to have the public {in attendance}, but I don’t have no problem with that,” he stated. “I just want to go to that ring and do my job.

“Fighting with Shakur is going to be interesting. I can’t let this opportunity go, I’ve trained hard.

“I’m going to give it my all, I’m going to give everything. I’m going to do my work and try to get that ‘W.’

“So, I’m going to get this great opportunity and I’m going to give it my all. I know that if we win, we could open all the doors, we could have more fights and better fights.”

Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo is live from the MGM Grand on ESPN this Tuesday night.

Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay