Shakur Stevenson (21-0) won his third world title on Thursday in Las Vegas, but it feels like he lost something in many ways.

Stevenson’s defensive prowess against Edwin De Los Santos (16-2) proved king as the Newark native captured a unanimous decision win (116-112×2, 115-113) and the WBC lightweight title–his third championship in as many divisions.

Stevenson was victorious, but to put it plainly, this wasn’t an exciting fight.

According to Ben Chan of CompuBox:

“De Los Santos made CompuBox history tonight. His 40 landed punches are the fewest landed punches in a 12-round fight in CompuBox’s 38-year history. In the co-main event, Emanuel Navarrete landed 23 power punches in the 11th round. Stevenson and De Los Santos respectively landed 19 and 14 power punches over 12 rounds. Neither fighter reached double-digits in landed punches in any round. Stevenson won the fight by landing 46 jabs.”

De Los Santos only connected on 13% of his attempts to hit Stevenson. That’s undoubtedly a recipe for a defeat.

I also scored the fight 116-112 for Stevenson, so there was no argument to make with the scorecards. Stevenson seemed to feel De Los Santos’ power and speed early, and thus, he chose a safe approach that featured a reasonably consistent jab with the occasional sweeping right-hand counter punch.

He used that formula and quickness to evade De Los Santos’ sometimes wild attacks to outclass his athletic but less-skilled opponent. De Los Santos looked frustrated much of the fight as his attempts to connect almost always missed the mark.

He wasn’t the only frustrated person in the arena. Fans pelted the fighters with boos through the last 8-9 rounds as action was sparse, and neither boxer seemed too keen on taking a ton of chances.

Stevenson admitted he didn’t perform well and said he “didn’t feel good” during the post-fight interview with Bernardo Osuna.

De Los Santos pulled no punches during his post-fight interview offering some harsh criticism of Stevenson.

Even with Stevenson’s admission about his readiness and the mentions of a potential physical issue heading into the fight, his rivals Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, legends like Oscar De La Hoya and others weren’t kind in their assessment of the fight.

If Stevenson was the most avoided fighter in the sport heading into this fight, he may find it even more challenging to get an opponent now.

However, it might be for a less impressive reason. With such a lackluster showing, potential opponents can point to this performance and suggest they don’t want to fight a guy who will run all night.

That’s not an ideal look for a young, up-and-coming fighter like Stevenson, but he did get the victory–which is always better than a loss.

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