Not since Mexican icon Marco Antonio Barrera – set to return in an eight-round exhibition against Ricky Hatton this summer – defeated Robbie Peden at the same MGM Grand venue in 2005 has there been a unified champion in the men’s 130lbs division.
But that will all change tonight, with ultra-talented favourite Stevenson hoping to catapult himself firmly into boxing superstardom as he sets his sights on becoming one of the sport’s biggest draws.
The undefeated 2016 Olympic silver medallst became a two-weight world champion aged just 24 in October, when he produced a ferocious and dominant display to dethrone WBO super-featherweight title-holder Jamel Herring, who had sent Carl Frampton into retirement in Dubai earlier in the year.
Stevenson had previously held the WBO featherweight belt after outpointing Joet Gonzalez in 2019, later vacating to step up a level.
Looking to cause an upset and stop the Newark southpaw’s rise is Mexico’s undefeated Valdez, who has held the WBC super-featherweight title since his stunning stoppage of Miguel Berchelt in February 2021.
The 31-year-old has provided one defence, controversially edging Brazil’s 2016 Olympic champion Robson Conceicao in Arizona last September. The fight was allowed to happen despite Valdez testing positive for the VADA-banned central-nervous stimulant phentermine, with the champion cut, bruised and outlanded but taking a divisive win on the scorecards.
Valdez is a veteran of nine world title bouts in total, having also held the WBO belt at 126lbs and defended it six times – including against England’s Scott Quigg in 2018.
Valdez vs Stevenson date, start time, venue and ring walks
Valdez vs Stevenson takes place tonight, Saturday April 30, 2022 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main card is due to begin at 2am BST in the early hours of Sunday morning, with main event ring walks at approximately 4:15am.
Eddie Hearn has confirmed that there will be no clash between Valdez-Stevenson and the undisputed lightweight bout between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano, with the biggest fight in women’s boxing history taking place earlier in the night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Valdez vs Stevenson fight card/undercard in full
Oscar Valdez vs Shakur Stevenson
Keyshawn Davis vs Esteban Sanchez
Raymond Muratalla vs Jeremy Hill
Nico Ali Walsh vs Alejandro Ibarra
Andres Cortes vs Alexis del Bosque
Abdullah Mason vs Luciano Ramos
Troy Isley vs Anthony Hannah
Charlie Sheehy vs Burnell Jenkins
Antoine Cobb vs Jaylan Phillips
How to watch Valdez vs Stevenson
TV channel: In the UK, Valdez vs Stevenson is being broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena tonight, with coverage beginning at 2am BST on Sunday morning.
Live stream: Subscribers can also catch the action live online via Sky Go.
Valdez vs Stevenson fight prediction
Shakur Stevenson is absolutely the real deal, make no mistake.
Speed, athleticism, footwork, sheer technical skill and off-the-charts ring IQ have him on a definite path to becoming one of boxing’s very biggest pay-per-view names.
If his vicious, one-sided win over Herring was a breakthrough display, this victory will be the one that properly announces him as a bonafide superstar.
The determined Valdez will hope to make this an uncomfortable brawl in deep waters, but he should be firmly second best on the night.
Stevenson to coast to an emphatic unanimous decision win.
Valdez vs Stevenson weights
Valdez weighed in at 129.6 pounds on Friday evening with his opponent exactly on the 130-pound limit.
Valdez vs Stevenson betting odds
Valdez to win: 7/2
Stevenson to win: 1/6
Valdez to win via decision/technical decision: 12/1
Valdez to win via KO, TKO or DQ: 5/1
Stevenson to win via decision/technical decision: 4/6
Stevenson to win via KO, TKO or DQ: 13/5
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).