Philippines, 07 Dec 2022
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Stevenson vs. Conceicao & Joyce vs. Parker Make For Big ESPN Weekend

This Friday and Saturday ESPN and ESPN+ gives fans something to chew on in main event bouts featuring Shakur Stevenson vs. Robson Conceicao & Joe Joyce vs. Joseph Parker. Will Shakur get tested in this trap fight against the crafty bigger Conceicao? Can Joe Joyce pass another test on his way to earning a title shot? It’s refreshing to see on a crowded weekend that we get these two separate events on different days something of a rarity in today’s over-saturated boxing broadcast market. That said we do have competing shows overseas on Saturday.

In April Shakur Stevenson looked every bit the part of a future pound for pound king as he dispatched then unbeaten Oscar Valdez capturing the lineal 130-pound title in the process. Stevenson was so smooth on defense and offense able to maneuver out of the way of a punch at the same time staying close enough in the pocket to counter back. The “kid” as 40-year old and up folks like to say is now coming into his prime at age 25. The potential accomplishments are on the table for him to grab given his talent, age, and boxers currently under the Top Rank umbrella for him to face. We’ve seen shades of his greatness in the ring as a prospect adapting his amateur style to the pros but the last two outings Shakur put it all together.

On the flips side is a capable opponent for Shakur in Robson Conceicao. Many already saw what Robson can do at the championship level when he faced Oscar Valdez. The Brazilian native Conceicao became the first boxer from his country to win a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics. Robson popped up on the US scene in October of 2020 in the bubble fights on ESPN. Conceicao was deducted two points for low blows and knocked down in a fight he won over Luis Coria. On paper his 17 fights didn’t fully prepare him for such a step up in class but he did face some adversity and sometimes that’s all prospects need to learn and apply it moving forward.

Some in media and tuned in boxing fans thought Conceicao had done enough to get his hand raised versus Oscar Valdez. Robson got off to a great start but made the mistake of taking his foot of the gas in the second half of the fight. Of course compubox stats don’t tell the whole story but Conceicao did outland and out-throw Valdez 141 to 83 landed and 578 to 390 at a higher percentage. The only advantage Oscar had was 30-13 for body punches. Something to keep note of is Robson getting a point deducted in that fight as well. As we know the triangle theory doesn’t equate because of how different styles matchup.

Conceicao stands 3 ½ inches taller that Shakur and has a two inch reach advantage. Size does matter if you apply it properly, so it begs the question will it make a big difference here. This fight will be fought in the middle of the ring the majority of the rounds. Maybe we'll see Robson try to use his reach and box on the outside turning Stevenson into the aggressor. We could also see Conceicao asserting his will and strength mixed with some roughhousing tactics. Either way Conceicao has a quality jab that he likes to follow up with right hands to the body and head. Also, his hand speed won’t match Shakur but he’s by no means slow. If the jab while circling his man in the pocket can be effective look out for his left hooks. Much like Stevenson has said about Coneicao, this boxing podcaster believes this will be a very good test and a more difficult fight then Oscar.

However Shakur Stevenson’s versatility has been on display especially highlighted in his last two outings. His pocket awareness to use a football term and overall adjustability will be the main ingredient to beat Robson. Shakur’s defense is levels above most fighters and Conceicao’s although very skilled lacks the “D” or power needed to defeat Stevenson. Look for the first part of this fight say 2-4 rounds as the time will see two-way traffic. Eventually Shakur will pick him apart separating himself from the pack once again. One more item Shakur missed the 130 pound weight limit and decided not to try to get down. Will that prevent him from being the bully as he has said during fight week or is that just talk?

My Official Prediction is Shakur Stevenson by Unanimous Decision.
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Let us not forget about the heavyweight action on Saturday afternoon US time between rising contender Joe Joyce and wily vet Joseph Parker. Parker represents the stiffest test for Joyce who’s had just 14 bouts in the pro ranks. Given his age of 37 the ‘Juggernauts’ process of moving prospect to contender to a title fight has been put on a fast track of sorts. Names such as Carlos Takam, Daniel Dubious, and Brandon Jennings hit the target to get a taste of what is to come as Joe climbs the heavyweight ladder.

This fight here could be a jab-fest and will be that at least for a little while. If Joyce is looking to damage he will have to take flush punches in return. This boxing head could see a mild pace for a few rounds with Joyce behind his jab landing the better of the two. At some point Joe Joyce will look to land bombs so there is a chance Parker will be stopped. Will get to see just how powerful Joe Joyce is because Parker has never been knocked out.

My Official Prediction is Joe Joyce by Unanimous Decision.

Side Note: Keep an eye out for Kid Galahad vs. Maxi Hughes on DAZN this Saturday.

Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Chris Carlson.

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