Stevenson admits ‘bad’ night but wins vacant title


LAS VEGAS — Shakur Stevenson picked up the vacant WBC lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Edwin De Los Santos on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena as boos rained down throughout the bout.

Stevenson prevailed via scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 116-112.

Neither fighter landed double-digit punches in any of the 12 rounds. De Los Santos’ highest output was nine punches in Round 10.

De Los Santos also made history. In CompuBox’s 38 years, a fighter has never landed fewer punches than De Los Santos’ 40 over a 12-round fight. In his first title bout, De Los Santos connected on just 14 power shots. Stevenson, who is now a three-division titleholder, landed 19 power punches and 44 jabs.

“I had a bad performance tonight,” said Stevenson, ESPN’s No. 8 pound-for-pound boxer. “That’s all I’m really focused on. I wasn’t feeling too good, so I’ll live with it. It’s OK.”

He added: “I didn’t feel good before the fight. Honestly, I had already told myself that if I feel like this in the ring and if it’s not going well, I’m going to make sure that I box and get the victory.”

Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) and De Los Santos (16-2, 14 KOs) both feinted and jabbed from long range as neither southpaw counterpuncher wanted to attack first. As the rounds wore on and nothing changed, it prompted many fans to head to the exits before the fight reached the final bell.

“We all know what happened,” said De Los Santos, 24, through an interpreter. “He came for a track meet. He didn’t come to fight. I showed that I am on a higher level because he never stood and fought like he does with other fighters. I did my job. He came to survive. That’s what he did. They gifted him the title, but I’m the people’s champion.”

Stevenson is one of the best rising talents in boxing, but this performance is sure to leave a bad taste with fans. The 26-year-old from Newark, New Jersey, was accompanied to the ring by Hall of Famer Andre Ward and pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford.

Stevenson previously won titles at 126 and 130 pounds. He was coming off a sixth-round TKO of Shuichiro Yoshino in April.

De Los Santos was coming off back-to-back wins over Jose Valenzuela and Joseph Adorno, the two best wins of his career.

The 135-pound title became available after Devin Haney signed to fight Regis Prograis for a 140-pound title on Dec. 9 and was named “champion in recess” by the WBC.

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