The vacant WBO world featherweight title will be on the line in Reno Saturday night when Shakur Stevenson (12-0, 7 KOs) and Joet Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KOs) face off in a much-anticipated fight. The fight will be the main event of a Top Rank card at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
In the US, the undercard starts at 6:30 p.m. ET, while Stevenson vs Gonzalez will start around 10 p.m. ET. It’s not on TV anywhere, but can watch every fight on the card ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of all Top Rank fights, plus tons of other live sports every week, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch Stevenson vs Gonzalez live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Stevenson vs Gonzalez Preview:
There is absolutely no shortage of drama and personal issues surrounding this one. First, there’s the fact that Stevenson has been dating Gonzalez’s younger sister Jajaira for the past several years. Gonzalez told Boxing Scene that Stevenson is not good enough for his sister, and he hasn’t minced words when discussing how he feels about Stevenson:
“The kid has no class,” Gonzalez said. “He’s disrespectful. He’s ignorant. You guys seen it on the stage. Come fight time, I’m gonna be ready. I’m gonna show him a thing or two again, and I’m gonna beat him down.”
Both Gonzalez and Stevenson have been sparring back and forth verbally for awhile now. During a pre-fight press conference, the two did not mince words when referencing each other. Stevenson accused Gonzalez of “fighting a bunch of bums,” noting that in 2012, when Gonzalez was fighting bums, he was merely a freshman in high school. The 26-year-old Gonzalez will get his chance Saturday against the 22-year old Stevenson.
The two also argued about who won a sparring session that occurred between them in the past, with Stevenson insisting neither got the better of the other–which Gonzalez disputes. “I think I’m still better than him, and I’m going to show that Saturday,” Gonzalez said.
Stevenson is currently ranked by the WBO as the number one contender, and Gonzalez is the second-ranked contender for the featherweight title. The two fighters have extremely different backgrounds. While Stevenson won a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics in the bantamweight division, Gonzalez has won 23 consecutive fights, winning almost twice the bouts that Stevenson has.
“I most definitely had the harder road,” Gonzalez said at the final pre-fight press conference. “He was an Olympic silver medalist. He got the fast track. He got [a title shot] in two years. It took me seven years. I’ve been pro since 2012, so I’ve had the longer road. I have more experience. I’m older, more mature, and I think that is gonna help me out Saturday night.”
Shakur’s maturity aside, he has recently had to deal with a major personal tragedy after losing his father in late September. His fight against Gonzalez Saturday night is being called his most important matchup since 2016.
Regardless of all the noise and personal issues swirling around this one, in the end, Stevenson is entering the ring as the favored fighter. He is a -455 favorite to win his first world championship, and Gonzalez is currently a +300 underdog, according to William Hill. All questions about this one will certainly be answered Saturday night.
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