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  Oscar Valdez vs. Shakur Stevenson
Final Press Conference

The long-awaited 130-pound grudge match is almost here.

WBC champion Oscar Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) and WBO king Shakur Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) had their first fight week faceoff Thursday, two days out from their unification showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Valdez-Stevenson, an eight-round lightweight co-feature between U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis and Esteban Sanchez, and the four-round Nico Ali Walsh-Alejandro Ibarra middleweight special attraction will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

At Thursday's press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Oscar Valdez

ďIím very excited for this. Ever since I was a kid, Iíve dreamt of these kinds of opportunities, to be fighting for unified championships and to be fighting in Las Vegas. Iím just very excited right now to be in this mega fight, and I canít wait. Iím anxious to step in the ring on April 30."

ďItís the perfect time to have this fight now. Shakur Stevenson is a two-time world champion right now. Iím a two-time world champion as well. Itís the perfect time. Letís prove who is the best 130-pounder. Letís get it on April 30. Letís just show it. I think itís the correct time to do it.

On Shakur Making his Pro Debut on Valdezís Undercard

ďJust like in this fight, I was very focused on the fight that I had in front of me. I had known about Shakur Stevenson. I saw him in the Olympics. He was a great fighter then, and heís turned into a great champion now. I donít remember at all that day because I was very focused on my fight in the same way I am focused on this fight. In each and every fight, I take things very seriously. I just focus on one thing: beating my opponent."

ďIt was great to train beside Canelo Alvarez. There are always things you can learn from fighters who have great experience. But it doesnít matter at the end of the day because the ones who are going to be inside the ring are me and Shakur. It doesnít matter if Canelo trains me or teaches me different things. At the end of the day, itís about who has the biggest heart in the ring on April 30.Ē

Shakur Stevenson

ďI speak the truth every time I talk. I felt like he didnít want to fight me at 126. Now weíre here at 130. He was trying to fight [Emanuel] Navarrete before fighting me. But weíre here now. We canít keep talking about that. The fight is Saturday, and Iím ready to fight.Ē

ďI never said Iím on the pound-for-pound list yet. I said that after this fight, once I get past Oscar Valdez, Iíll be on the pound-for-pound list.Ē

ďIíve been waiting on this moment my whole life. Itís taken years and years of training, since I was an amateur, to prepare for this moment. I feel like Iím ready.Ē

ďWhen Bud [Crawford] was in my camp, he came and we sparred each other. I feel like it was different from his camp because he had Canelo with him during every step of the way. Canelo was right there next to him telling him out to hook and jab. They were with each other step of the way. So, when I beat him, Iím going to feel good beating him, Canelo, Eddy Reynoso, the whole team.Ē

On turning pro on Valdez's undercard

ďI was on his undercard. I was focused on my fight, but then I saw his fight in the main event. I was definitely thinking about me and him fighting later on. I knew we were at the same weight. It was always in my head that we were going to fight.Ē

ďI think heís going to bang. Thatís it. I think heís trying to trick me into thinking heís going to box me and be technical. Iím not falling for that. Iím ready for the Oscar Valdez who goes in there throwing hooks and putting pressure.Ē

Bob Arum

ďI really feel terrific. This shows how boxing should be produced. Youíll see in the main event two fighters whoíve had all of their professional fights with Top Rank. Now, theyíll be facing off against each other. And on my right, we have two prospects, one of whom has had an extensive amateur background and is considered by many to be the best amateur to come out of the United States in many years in Keyshawn Davis. The other is a young man who had very little amateur experience, but he has undertaken the task of making himself a great fighter in the professional ranks with the idea of making his late grandfather, the first fighter I promoted, Muhammad Ali, proud. Those are really great boxing stories. Weíll see that unfold on Saturday night.Ē

Keyshawn Davis

ďHonestly, I would just like to keep these performances going. Ever since people started putting attention on me, I just feel like Iíve been rising to the occasion every single time. Every time I get into the ring, I put on spectacular performances. Expect another spectacular performance on Saturday night, as well as in the main event with my brother Shakur Stevenson. Me and him have been sharing this dream for years now. Iím just excited to be fighting alongside him.Ē

ďHonestly, Iím just going to go out there and do what I do. And I feel like when I do what I do, itís going to be a specular performance, as well as for Shakur.Ē

Esteban Sanchez

ďItís the first time Iíll be fighting here in the United States. I am very excited because itís the first time Iíll be fighting at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. For me, itís been a dream. Itís also a dream for any boxer who is just starting out and says, ĎI want to fight at MGM in Las Vegas.í So, Iím very excited. And, thank God, the stage hasnít affected me that much, so we are very happy.Ē

ďWe are going to carry out a strategy that Iíve been working out for some time with my coach, Joe Vargas. Saturday, weíll do our work like Keyshawn will do his work. I hope itís a great fight for all the people.Ē

ďMore than anything, youíll see a lot of strategy, technique and brains. In Mexico, there is a lot of heart. We will also bring that as well. We will combine all of that to deliver a great fight.Ē

Nico Ali Walsh

ďI feel amazing. I think we all know at this point that the main event is probably going to be one of the fights of the year. They are two extremely talented fighters, and being a part of it is a huge honor, and Iím very glad to be fighting here in my hometown.Ē

ďEveryone has tough fights at some point in their career. Iím glad I was able to get that experience early on. I was able to come back stronger, and you saw that in my fight in January. Now Iíve had the time to spar some of the best guys in the world, and Iím back. This time, Iíll be able to showcase more than I did in January.Ē


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