It’s a very busy Saturday in boxing this week, with returns for Shakur Stevenson, Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, and Sebastian Fundora in main events, plus some big prospects and world titles in undercard fights, too!
Stevenson’s return against Shuichiro Yoshino is really the headline fight of the weekend, so that’s the one we’re focused on, but we’ve got lots more for you today!
Who wins Stevenson vs Yoshino? Well, maybe the better question is, how will the fight be won? We’ve got our picks in plus SIX more under it!
Scott Christ (26-14)
I didn’t make a big deal of it last week, but you see how that 7-0 weekend I had at the end of March really got me back to where I’m not embarrassingly, hugely out of the race? You see that? MA! YOUR BOY DID IT!
Anyway, Stevenson should pick Yoshino apart here, and while it’s a fool’s actual bet, I’m gonna say Shakur gets a stoppage. Yoshino is a hard-charging guy who has basically the one speed, and he’s going to be walking onto an accumulation of damage from the drastically faster, slicker, and more sound Stevenson.
Yoshino really is a pretty good fighter, but listen, usually people bring up “styles make fights” when they see an upset as a possibility, so I’m gonna drop it here to say that styles will make this fight, and they’re making it really bad news for Yoshino, who is going to be peppered relentlessly. The good news is he’s less likely than a lot of Stevenson opponents to just accept a decision loss and stop trying much. Shakur won’t “strike fear into the hearts” of potential lightweight foes in the traditional sense, but I could see a lot of guys doing their best to avoid him as he embarks on his third weight class. Stevenson TKO-9
Wil Esco (29-11)
I don’t know that Stevenson will ever prove to be a truly captivating star because of his style, but there’s no questioning his ability and talent. And while he may not be a particularly big puncher, he can do damage by way of accumulation given the right opponent and circumstances. In this particular case, going against Yoshino, it’s hard for me to see anything other than the speed and accuracy of Stevenson picking him apart, and depending on how bad it gets, the fight may need to end early.
But even if Stevenson doesn’t score the stoppage, I still see him taking a wide points decision in a performance that will likely maintain the status quo as far as his drawing power goes. Stevenson handles his business, gets a win to move on, but won’t set boxing Twitter on fire with any real buzz unless something goes drastically wrong. Stevenson UD-12
John Hansen (31-9)
Honestly, I never really liked watching Floyd Mayweather. It was a provocative statement when he was an active boxer, and I suspect it’ll still generate at least a little pushback when these picks go live.
I’ll just repeat what I told people back then: Somewhere out there, someone is the absolute greatest accountant on the face of the earth. Whoever they are, they might have everyone at the IRS holding their breath for whatever comes in with their signature on it. But, no matter how amazing they may be at what they do, I’ll never get excited about watching someone prepare a tax return.
If you’re an American and you’ve forgotten your taxes are due this month, Shakur Stevenson should be an excellent one-week reminder ahead of the deadline. Stevenson UD-12
Patrick Stumberg (31-9)
There really should be a word for a matchup that makes perfect sense from a rankings perspective and is an appropriate next step for both men, but won’t be competitive at all. Yoshino’s a solid operator coming off of two good wins over Masayuki Ito and Masayoshi Nakatani, a fighter closer to “Very Good” than “Good” on the quality spectrum. As far as debut lightweight opponents go, he fits the bill nicely.
I just don’t see him giving Stevenson any sorts of issues. The only area where Yoshino might have a shot is in the pocket, but better in-fighters than him have tried and failed to force Stevenson into disadvantageous exchanges. Stevenson moves too well to give Yoshino the close-quarters brawl he wants, and even if Stevenson does decide to indulge him, Stevenson’s defense and combination punching give him a really good chance of coming out on top anyway. Yoshino’s probably tough enough to last the distance, but I’ll be surprised if he can bank more than two rounds. Stevenson UD-12
Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez vs Cristian Gonzalez
- Scott: Rodriguez TKO-6
- Wil: Rodriguez UD-12
- John: Rodriguez KO-5
- Patrick: Rodriguez UD-12
Sebastian Fundora vs Brian Mendoza
- Scott: Fundora TKO-11
- Wil: Fundora TKO-10
- John: Fundora UD-12
- Patrick: Fundora UD-12
Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs Marlon Tapales
- Scott: Akhmadaliev UD-12
- Wil: Akhmadaliev TKO-10
- John: Akhmadaliev TKO-10
- Patrick: Akhmadaliev TKO-10
Raymond Ford vs Jessie Magdaleno
- Scott: Ford UD-12
- Wil: Ford UD-12
- John: Magdaleno MD-12
- Patrick: Ford SD-12
Keyshawn Davis vs Anthony Yigit
- Scott: Davis TKO-7
- Wil: Davis UD-10
- John: Davis TKO-8
- Patrick: Davis UD-10
Jared Anderson vs George Arias
- Scott: Anderson TKO-4
- Wil: Anderson TKO-5
- John: Anderson KO-4
- Patrick: Anderson TKO-5