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Predictions: Stevenson vs De Los Santos, Navarrete vs Conceicao, more

Will Shakur Stevenson and Emanuel Navarrete triumph again on Thursday?

Will Shakur Stevenson and Emanuel Navarrete triumph again on Thursday?
Will Shakur Stevenson and Emanuel Navarrete triumph again on Thursday?
Top Rank

Shakur Stevenson vs Edwin De Los Santos

Scott Christ (90-35)

I don’t know that anyone beats Shakur at 135, not only is he that good, but he has continued to improve, and is perhaps not even a totally finished product at age 26. De Los Santos can crack and is a good fighter, but the puncher’s chance really struggles to matter when the other guy is this hard to hit clean. Shakur picks him apart and gets a late stoppage. Stevenson TKO-10

Wil Esco (101-24)

Shakur Stevenson is one of the best talents in the boxing game today. He’s not the most ferocious or the biggest puncher, but his defense and accuracy make him a nightmare matchup for most people. I don’t see much of what Edwin De Los Santos is going to be able to do with Stevenson, who probably won’t be challenged outside of the elite opponents like Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, etc. Not much to overthink in this one. Stevenson TKO-10

John Hansen (88-37)

I respect the talent of Shakur Stevenson, even if I don’t always delight in seeing how he applies it. And there may not be another active boxer that can rival his elusiveness and slick defensive instincts.

De Los Santos has power, but the cliche “puncher’s chance” isn’t worth much against a guy that’s as good as anyone at avoiding clean punches. De Los Santos did well to rise to this opportunity, and it’s commendable that he took this fight when so many others at the weight refused it. But, his narrow path to victory might be totally nonexistent assuming Shakur Stevenson doesn’t give a Tyson Fury sort of effort. Stevenson UD-12

Patrick Stumberg (97-28)

I say with full confidence that nobody beats Shakur Stevenson at 135. Not Tank Davis, not Devin Haney, not Vasiliy Lomachenko. Until and unless someone puts Naoya Inoue in Microsoft Paint and widens him enough to add extra poundage without compromising performance, Stevenson rules the division until he gets bored and leaves. Thus, my interest in potential matchups comes less from the pure skill of his opponents and more from whether they’ll make a genuine effort to knock his block off.

De Los Santos is young, fast, powerful, and confident in his own invincibility to give Stevenson a fight. He’s not good enough to actually win that fight, but I’d much rather see someone fruitlessly swing for the fences than try to box Stevenson and get checkmated round after round. That alone makes this a more interesting matchup in my eyes than the likes of Frank Martin, so hats off to De Los Santos for answering the call. Stevenson 119-109 at minimum. Stevenson UD-12

Emanuel Navarrete vs Robson Conceicao

Scott Christ (90-35)

Having a hard time figuring anything much to say about this fight. Conceicao is not an inspiring challenger and he’s a +550 underdog for good reason. Navarrete should beat him pretty handily, though I think we could see Conceicao shade some rounds along the way, and I think it might take Navarrete the first half of the fight to really figure it out. Hey, there’s something! It’s turning around already. Navarrete UD-12

Wil Esco (101-24)

A time is going to come where Emanuel Navarrete’s unorthodox approach is going to work against him, but I’m pretty sure Robson Conceicao isn’t the man to do the job. Conceicao brings a pretty unorthodox approach to the ring himself, so this could make for a lot of awkward action between the two, but I think we’ll have spurts of good exchanges. In the end, however, I just think Navarrete is too young and fresh for Conceicao and that ultimately will prove itself out on points over the duration. Navarrete UD-12

John Hansen (88-37)

Emanuel Navarrete fights in a manner that’s ripe for upset someday, but it’s not likely to happen against a fighter like Conceicao. We’ve already seen twice this year that if you can mix it up with Navarrete, he’s there to be hit, and you can hurt him. But Conceicao’s best work is done through jabs and general frustration, and I’ve yet to see anyone overcome the long reach of Navarrete to really jab him down through a whole fight.

Consider also that we’ve seen Conceicao slow down in the latter half of fights before, an issue that’s unlikely to have improved now that he’s 35 years old. If he has a shot here, it’s a variation on what Ruben Villa was able to do in the last half of his fight against Navarrete. But, I don’t think he has the gas tank to emulate that. If Conceicao fights his natural style, he probably goes the distance and loses wide. If he goes for broke in what might be his last shot at a belt? I think he gets stopped outright for the first time. Navarrete UD-12

Patrick Stumberg (97-28)

I respect Robson Conceicao as a fighter. I respect the fact that unlike the Falcao brothers, he tried to make something of himself as a pro instead of just sitting there until a tune-up went wrong, though it did admittedly take him a few years. I just don’t think he has the right style to deal with Navarrete. He’s solid at range, but there’s a difference between playing matador on Oscar Valdez and out-maneuvering a guy with a two-inch reach advantage and the sorts of punch stats that would get you kicked out of a Fight Night tournament for hacking. If Conceicao mixes it up inside, where he’s genuinely very skilled, he lacks the firepower or output to deal with Navarrete’s onslaught.

There’s no doubt that Conceicao will give Navarrete a fight every step of the way. He just doesn’t ask the sorts of questions that Navarrete hasn’t answered before. Much like his fight with Ruben Villa, Navarrete’s avalanche of offense carries him past a skilled technician in entertaining fashion. Navarrete UD-12

Quick Picks!

Diego Pacheco vs Marcelo Coceres

  • Scott: Pacheco TKO-7
  • Wil: Pacheco TKO-5
  • John: Pacheco KO-6
  • Patrick: Pacheco TKO-5

Denzel Bentley vs Nathan Heaney

  • Scott: Bentley KO-4
  • Wil: Bentley TKO-6
  • John: Bentley TKO-7
  • Patrick: Bentley TKO-6

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