Exploring the underdog’s options
SUPER FEATHERWEIGHT Robson Conceição, 17-1 (9), is 33 years old and just under 6 feet. Those dimensions alone give Shakur Stevenson plenty to think about.
The Brazilian is well-trained, as evidenced by two amateur victories over Joe Cordina in a successful career that also saw him lose to Josh Taylor. But it was his only loss at the professional level to Oscar Valdez last September that stood out. Valdez infamously failed a drug test, but was cleared to fight after subsequent tests came back clean. Valdez was widely criticized before the fight and many felt that Conceição – a busy but economical boxer who uses his size well – deserved better than the unanimous scorecards against him.
Rewatching this contest, the result seemed fair, even if the decision to allow the fight to go ahead was moot at best. Conceição didn’t do quite enough, and those who felt he won were likely affected by a lingering sense of injustice.
Despite this, Conceição, who was the eighth contender to the champion Stevenson, acquitted himself in a difficult situation. He might make life uncomfortable for the southpaw favorite, but like 5-foot-10 Jamel Herring last October, Stevenson will eventually learn just how special he is. The American, who is mature beyond his years in the ring, should be favored to win it widely on the cards.