“Make sure you’re not cheating”

By Chris Williams: Shakur Stevenson reminded Oscar Valdez this week to make sure there’s no “cheating” going on this Saturday night when the two fight in a 130-lb unified bout on ESPN.

WBO super featherweight champion Shakur’s reminder to the WBC 130-lb champion is alluding to his positive test for the banned stimulant from last August.

Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) came up positive for the substance in a test weeks before his September 10th title defense against Robson Conceicao.

Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) is the favorite to defeat Valdez this Saturday, April 30th in a fight that will be taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Valdez vs. Stevenson card will be shown on ESPN+ and ESPN starting at 10:00 pm ET.

Oscar Valdez: “Shakur has been mentioning my name for quite some time. The fans want to see it, and I feel like I’m the type of fighter that owes myself to the canvas,” said Valdez to Top Rank Boxing.

“If the fans want to get this fight, then I’m all for it,” Valdez said.

Shakur Stevenson: “I just feel like this fight is a fight that needed to be made. It’s a long time coming, I was his mandatory at 126,” said Shakur Stevenson. “I feel like we’re the top dogs at 130.

“He’s 30-0 with 23 knockouts and I’m undefeated, the next superstar”. I feel like it’s my time to take my spot at the top of the kingdom.

“This is my story, my journey and I’m ready to fly basically,” said Shakur. “I’m ready to go out there and do what I’ve been taught.

“I just feel like he’s been ducking,” Stevenson said in reacting to being asked about his comment that he’s ‘finally catching the duck.’ “After his last fight, he said he wanted to fight the winner out of Shakur and Jamel [Herring].

“He knew I was going to win, he said that, but then he started talking about [Emanuel] Navarrete],” said Stevenson about Oscar.

Valdez: “I never said that.”

Shakur: “Your team, they said Navarrete.”

Valdez: “No.”

Shakur: “Boy Arum said it.”

Valdez: “Not me. We denied Navarrete because we didn’t want to fight Navarrete. It was a lose-lose.”

Shakur: “I’m just saying that I heard out of Bob Arum’s mouth that they wanted to make the Navarrete – Oscar Valdez fight. Their teams were getting together and trying to create their fight.

“I feel like that was a ducking move because if you say out of your mouth that you want to fight the winner out of Shakur and Jamel, why not make that happen?

“I don’t know what happened. If the money wasn’t right. I don’t know.”

Valdez: “People in Mexico would love that fight, but I personally didn’t like that fight because there are more fans that wanted the Shakur fight. Your name is mentioned in Mexico. When I walk on the streets, they say, ‘When are you going to fight Shakur?’ That’s when I thought, ‘If people really want this fight, let’s give it to them.’”

Stevenson: “I heard Bob Arum say personally that you wanted the Navarrete fight or your team wanted the Navarrete fight. It was throwing me off, boy. I don’t know.

“I look at him as a tough fighter. I look at him breaking his jaw and fighting through it. So, when I heard him say that he’ll fight Leo Santa Cruz or Josh Warrington but he won’t fight me, I kind of felt that it was disrespectful.

“It was kind of like ‘what do you mean by that? Why are you not going to fight me but you’re going to fight them two.’ I’m the better fighter out of those two fighters. Now that we’re here, I’ve proved that and shown who I am. I just feel like at that time, he should have fought me.”

Valdez: “At the time there were bigger names. Now at this time, of course, Shakur Stevenson’s name is the one that everyone wants but at the time, everybody wanted to see Leo Santa Cruz and Josh Warrington and unify those belts. That was pretty much it.

“Now, he’s [Shakur] the man to beat right now. He’s the one everybody looks at him and says, ‘He’s a champion right now. That’s what we’ve always been looking for. Who’s the best in the division, and we’ll go for him? There are two champions and only one crown, and we’ll do our best to take it.”

Stevenson: “He would have had a bigger chance to fight me then. Now, I’m bigger, stronger, and I’m better. Now he’s fighting the right Shakur.”

Valdez: “I’m in great shape right now. It’s perfect, I love it. I love the fact that we’re making the fight for the fans.”

Stevenson: “Make sure you’re not cheating. Make sure there’s no heating going on.”

Valdez: “Don’t worry about me cheating.”

Shakur: “I’ve seen it, you know? I’m just saying, don’t cheat me, my boy. I don’t like cheaters.”

Valdez: “I never cheated in my life.”

Shakur: “So let’s just make sure that it doesn’t happen again. How about that?”

Valdez: “It’s coming at the perfect time for me right now. My last fight wasn’t my best performance. His last performance was his best performance against Jamel Herring. So it’s all or nothing for me.

“This fight will put us on the pound-for-pound list. It’s that type of magnitude. My last fight [against Robson Conceicao] wasn’t my best, and this is my chance to get everything back.”

Shakur: “I feel like I’m hot right now, I’m on a roll, I’m sharp, and we’ve been getting better & better, stronger & stronger. I feel like this fight is definitely going to put me on the pound-for-pound list.

“I feel like I’m the best fighter in boxing in terms of skill-wise, brain IQ, and all that stuff. I got to go in there and show him that. I feel like he’s [Valdez] A great fighter, he’s 30-0, and I feel like he doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves.

“I feel like the odds are overdoing it. I feel like it should have been closer odds. I feel like if he were fighting somebody else not on my level, I feel like he would beat them, but I feel like he’s in for it with me because I’m a special talent.”

Valdez: “He’s definitely a special talent and definitely the man to beat. Everybody mentions his name and there’s a reason for it because he’s a great fighter and has a great amateur background.

“He’s been proving, getting the belts, a two-time world champion. So that’s the reason why I want this fight. We want the best to fight the best, and this is it. On April 30th, two are going to enter the ring, and I’m expecting the best Shakur Stevenson because I’m expecting myself to be the best version of myself as well.”

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