Examining the possibilities of the underdog
SUPER FEATHERWEIGHT Robson Conceição, 17-1 (9), is 33 years old and barely 6 feet tall. Those dimensions alone will give Shakur Stevenson, but to fight someone that tall, a lot to think about.
The Brazilian is well-bred, as evidenced by two amateur wins over Joe Cordina during a successful run that also saw him lose to Josh Taylor. However, it was his only professional loss of his, to Oscar Valdez in September of last year, that saw him rise to prominence. Valdez infamously failed a drug test in preparation, but was allowed to fight after subsequent tests came clean. There was widespread criticism of Valdez before the fight and many felt that Conceição, a busy but economical fighter who uses his size well, deserved better than the unanimous scorecards that went against him.
Watching that fight again, the outcome seemed fair even if the decision to allow the fight to go ahead was up for debate at best. Conceição did not do enough and those who felt he won were probably influenced by the lingering sense of injustice.
Regardless, Conceição, ranked as the eighth contender to champion Stevenson, handled himself well in a difficult situation. He can make life awkward for the left-handed favorite but, like 5-foot-10 Jamel Herring in October of last year, he finally discovers how special Stevenson is. The American, who is mature beyond his years when he is inside the ring, should be the favorite to win this one by a long shot.