BoxingFight Previews

Shakur Stevenson vs. Felix Caraballo Full Fight Preview

The words we have waited to hear “boxing is back,” is now upon us. 

Tonight, on ESPN, at 7 PM EST, Top Rank Inc returns with a boxing card featuring a five-fight card headlined by 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson. 

Stevenson, who won his first world title at the age of 22-years-old, against undefeated Joet Gonzalez late last year, now will return for the first time in 2020, after his last bout, a March fight against game opponent Miguel Marriaga was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Shakur is — I said it when we did our first fight — a future star in the sport of boxing, a future superstar. I look at him as the southpaw version of Floyd Mayweather, and I think he will exceed the performances by Floyd. I just think he’s a rare, rare talent, and I think that he’s a young man who’s growing in size and so I think 130 pounds will be a brief stop in his career because he’s growing into a welterweight and maybe even a junior middleweight,” said hall-of-fame promoter and CEO of Top Rank Inc, Bob Arum about Shakur Stevenson who headlines tonight’s card.

Stevenson, one of the future stars of the sport of boxing, ushers in boxing’s return on a Tuesday night against a lesser-known Puerto Rican fighter Felix Caraballo (13-1-2, 9KOs), who has no footage on YouTube of himself, so making an assessment of the fighter, is virtually impossible prior to the bout. 

“From a business point, it’s not about that title; I think it’s every boxer’s dream {to earn a title shot}. So, I’m going to get this great opportunity and I’m going to give it my all, and I know that if we win, we could open all the doors, we could have more fights and better fights,” said Caraballo earlier this week via a conference call.

This is Stevenson’s first bout at super featherweight, 130 lbs, and Stevenson in a Thursday conference call is undecided whether he will go back to featherweight or stay at 130 lbs. To my perception, Caraballo is an opponent who is a true 130 lber, and this will be a chance for Stevenson to acclimate to this weight class and decide what the future holds for him.

“I’d say it’s a little bit more comfortable, but I think that I’m really a 130-pounder, honestly what I’ve been feeling like, for sure,” said Stevenson. “I am really big 126.”

Stevenson’s future weight was also brought up by his promoter, Bob Arum.

“Now, if, on the other hand, he feels that he’s better off going to 130, we’ll go along with that. In other words, I’m not going to force a fighter to fight at a weight which he shouldn’t be fighting at because it takes too much out of them to make the weight.

So, Shakur has great people with him, great technical people, his corner people, his manager, James Prince. They’ll discuss it with him and discuss it with us. But certainly, if he decides to stay at 126, I’m going to, one way or the other, make the Warrington fight happen.” said Arum about Stevenson’s future weight class plans

Stevenson is one of the fighters, whom you should definitely begin to watch now if you haven’t since he will be in most of the marquee fights moving forward in his weight classes over the next decade. 

As for a prediction on the bout, Stevenson simply said the following.

“I watched like one round. I see everything I needed to see in that one round, and I see a lot of holding in his game, so I’m going to expose it,” Stevenson said.

Mayer Out

2016 U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer lost out on her fight and a paycheck for the second time this year, the first being by a global shutdown caused by the pandemic, and the second via a positive result to a COVID-19 test. Mayer, who took to social media to announce the result, has spent all but a few weeks in camp this year, with little to show for it, which by its very nature is more than likely discouraging and sad.

One other thing to consider is that considering no one else from her team tested positive, it is possible the test could be a false positive as well. Nonetheless, no one takes joy in seeing Mayer not get a paycheck as well as her opponent Helen Joseph, who doesn’t get an opportunity as well, in a bout that was looked at as priming one of the two fighters into a world title contention.

Mayer, who has had a slow professional development, putting on entertaining bouts, will look to return this year.

“Big Baby” Anderson

Jared “Big Baby” Anderson, the number 1 heavyweight in U.S.A. boxing prior to turning professional last year, is now set for the toughest fight of his career, against Johnnie Langston, an 8-win and 2-loss professional fighter, though Langston has spent the majority of his career at cruiserweight and not heavyweight. The 20-year-old Anderson has won all three of his fights so far by first-round knockout will ramp up his level of competition as Langston looks to force Anderson to go rounds. This is furthered by the fact this is Anderson’s first professional six-round bout as he is no longer a four-round fighter after just three fights, and with Mayer out, Anderson is now the co-main event.

Vianello, Ramirez and Cash versus Metcalf

The remainder of the card is solid, but more so for the hardcore enthusiasts, as two of the three fights will be more than likely developmental bouts with one very competitive bout sprinkled in.

2016 Olympic Super Heavyweight Guido Vianello of Italy who lost to Leinier Pero of Cuba in the Olympics, will be in action against Don Haynesworth, an opponent who despite having twice the experience appears to be a bit outgunned by the young heavyweight. Vianello has won all six of his professional fights by way of knockout and has been in full camps with Joseph Parker and Tyson Fury in the past two years. Vianello should make a statement on this card. Vianello originally trained with Abel Sanchez, but now trains in Las Vegas, with Kevin Barry, who trains former world champion, Joseph Parker.

Quatavious Cash is a fighter who spent a large part of his career at the Mayweather Boxing Gym, getting work, and training, but might be best known for his appearance on “The Contender” TV show. Cash is working with Chris Ben-Tchavtchavadze as well as advised by Mike Leanardi, as this appears to be a major opportunity for Cash.

His opponent, Calvin Metcalf, is a solid fighter, who dethroned former Top Rank middleweight Joe Louie Lopez, and has only lost to the best fighters he has faced will look to provide a baseline on Cash’s talent. This fight seems to be an assessment of Cash’s ability and/or a fun fight for those who tune-in as this is a fairly evenly matched bout with a skill advantage to Cash, but never count out the tough and durable Metcalf, who can wear out any opponent who doesn’t earn his respect. 

Two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez is having a frustrating career as he dropped his professional debut to Adan Gonzales, after being dropped in the first round, and showing no urgency. Ramirez is now with a new team with Ismael Salas, who has coached Jorge Linares, Yuriorkis Gamboa as well as David Haye, is looking to continue on his two-fight win streak. Ramirez has been stepped back in his level of competition and looks to be moved a lot slower than when he first entered the company in his professional debut. Ramirez will look to riffle off some wins to one day get a fight with Shakur Stevenson, the man he beat to win the gold medal in 2016. 

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle