Posted on 11/17/2023
By: Sean Crose
Shakur Stevenson fought for the vacant WBC lightweight title Thursday night in Las Vegas when he took on Edwin De La Santos in a battle scheduled for 12 rounds. First, however, Emanuel Navarrete defended his WBO junior lightweight title against Robson Conceicao in a scheduled 12 rounder. Wily by nature, Navarrete allowed himself to get caught in the first. Conceicao continued to fire with bad intentions in the second. Navarrete applied the pressure in the third, but Conceicao was able to employ his slick defense effectively.
A combination put Conceicao down in the final minute of the fourth. Conceicao got up to beat the count, but the tide of the fight had clearly changed. The fighters traded leather in an exciting fifth round. The sixth was a close, relatively high octane affair. A thunderous shot to the body sent Conceicao to the mat in the seventh. Once again, the determined challenger beat the count. It was clear, however, that Navarrete could end the fight at any given moment. Conceicao had his moments in the eighth, but simply didn’t have the power to hurt his man.
Thoroughly determined, the fighters slugged away in the ninth. The fight remained close and fast paced in the tenth, close enough that it was hard to tell who took the chapter. The action rolled through the eleventh, though it seemed Navarrete was landing the better combinations. The twelfth and final round saw the fighters clash heads. Aside from that, Conceicao looked to the be busier overall. It was a fairly terrific contest, with each man giving it his absolute all until the sound of the final bell. The judges ended up ruling the match a majority draw.
What seemed like an eternity later, Shakur and De Los Santos finally answered the opening bell. Each fighter was extremely cautious in the first. The crowd started to boo in the second for obvious reasons. De Los Santos landed some sharp shots in the third – but the fight remained a lifeless late night affair. The action remained light as a feather in the fourth. By the fifth it was clear Stevenson had zero interest in being anything other than safe. The crowd booed some more.
Things were so action free it was hard to pay attention in the sixth. The inertia continued through the seventh. Three minutes came and went in the eighth. There was some action in the ninth, which was something, at least. Both fighters pretty much stared at each other and feinted in the tenth (that’s only a slight exaggeration). Shakur essentially did nothing in the eleventh. De Los Santos tried to do a little, but couldn’t. The twelfth was as terrible as the rest of the fight, maybe . Stevenson was given a unanimous decision nod from the judges, who somehow managed to stay awake.