By: Sean Cross
“Yesterday he said I was fake, so he’s the one who showed it to the world,” Robson Concecao said of Shakur Stevenson after their fight Friday night. Stevenson, who holds the WBO and WBC junior heavyweight titles, lost more than a pound to Conceicao for the season. The 17-1 former gold medalist also made it clear through an interpreter that he felt Stevenson was letting the local fans down, as the fight will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, Stevenson’s hometown. “You have to set an example for your hometown, and this one does the opposite,” Concecao said.
Simply put, Conceicao made it clear that he believes the 18-0 Stevenson is not fulfilling his career goals as a fighter. “It’s unprofessional, and that’s a shame for the entire boxing world,” Concecao said. Asked if he felt Stevenson neglected to take him seriously, Concecao responded. “Oh sure,” he said. However, the Brazilian contender has made it clear that he is brimming with confidence ahead of the biggest fight of his career. He said of Stevenson: “I would have taken the belts even if he’d made the weight … (if it was from him) not anybody else, I’d take the belts home.” Fortunately, Conceicao still has a chance to win the WBC and WBO belts, even though Stevenson has now been stripped.
Conceicao points out that he and Stevenson are simply different people. “I don’t talk as much as he does, so I’m a professional athlete who works in the ring and works on my sport, I’m an athlete who doesn’t talk as much as he does,” Conceicao said. It is clear that Concecao represents what it means to be a professional boxer. “Tomorrow I will show the world that I am a professional athlete and wrestler,” he said. Still, there are some fighters who feel boxing needs more than a win on a resume, and Concecao made it clear through the interpreter that he is one of them.
“Any kind of champion … should be an example to the world,” he said. “He’s not an example,” he added, referring to Stevenson. If Conceicao pulls off the upset in Stevenson Friday night at the Prudential Center, he will no doubt provide an example of how he can surprise the fight world. The fight will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 10 p.m. ET.