Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.
LAS VEGAS — Stepping back into the ring, for the Shakur (Sugar) Stevenson vs Felix (La Sombra) Caraballo fight tonight. Sugar is sugar, but La Sombra is what? It translates to The Shadow, which is very cool. It’s also the name of a band from back in the day. La Sombra de Chicago or La Sombra de Tony Guerrero or even the Windy City Boys is a Tejano band founded by Tony Guerrero. Originally from the Chicago area, they play a mixture of Tejano/Tex-Mex, cumbia, hip hop, rock and soul. Being painfully honest, I have never listened to La Sombra, but might throw on a few of their tunes as Caraballo walks into the ring.
Stevenson vs Caraballo Preview
Next up, tale of the tape. Stevenson is 22 years old from Newark, New Jersey. Sugar will probably tip the scale at around a buck 30, is five-foot-eight and has a 68-inch reach. His record is PERFECTION at 13-0, with seven wins coming by KO and six by decision. Shakur hasn’t fought since last October, a 12-round unanimous decision over Joet Gonzalez. And when we say unanimous, we’re talking UNANIMOUS. Here are some geeky stats from our friends at CompuBox. Stevenson landed 121 punches, Gonzalez only 53. Shakur landed 33 jabs, Felix only four. And Sugar pounded 88 power punches to just 49 for his opponent.
Caraballo is from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and his record is 13-1-2, with nine wins coming by KO and four by decision. He’s 26 years old, will come in at around a buck 30, is 5-8 and has a 67-inch reach. Found out that Felix works full time at a warehouse and gets up at 3:30 a.m. every day to do roadwork before his shift starts at 7 a.m. That’s dedication. Unfortunately, Caraballo has fought a bunch of stiffs down in Puerto Rico, and NONE OF ’EM come close to the talent level of Stevenson.
The only thing I DO NOT like about Stevenson is his nickname. He’s using Sugar. Ray Leonard also used Sugar and I NEVER liked that either. There was ONLY one Sugar, and his name was Walker Smith Jr., or you might remember him as Ray Robinson. Of course I’m a bit partial because he used to roll down Broadway, right past my apartment building, in his pink Cadillac on the way to his restaurant in Harlem. He could also fight, and IS on my Mount Rushmore of boxers, along with Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Floyd Mayweather. If you wanna quibble about my Mount Rushmore, you can hit my email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stevenson vs Caraballo Pick
So, how we gonna bet the fight? Can’t possibly bet Shakur to win straight up, because NO ONE in their right mind is gonna lay 7,000 bucks to win back a STINKIN’ hundred-dollar bill. Gotta go to the round props, and we’re feeling that Sugar will be looking to make a YUGE statement in the first major fight back. Which is why we’ll drop a full Benjamin on him to win in Round 1 at +1500, Round 2 at +1000 and Round 3 at +1000. C’MON with me and let’s make some money BAAABBEEE!!!
Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his email...email@example.com.