Arum says Shakur Stevenson reminds him of Floyd Mayweather

By Boxing News - 10/28/2019 - Comments

By Chris Williams: Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) captured the vacant WBO featherweight title last Saturday night in beating previously unbeaten #2 WBO Joet Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KOs) by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, in Reno, Nevada.

The 2016 U.S Olympic Silver medalist Stevenson used his movement, jabs and single power shots to dominate the slower but more powerful Gonzalez by a wide decision. The scores were 119-109, 119-109 and 119-109. Boxing News 24 had it scored with an identical 119-109 score. Gonzalez, 26, didn’t have the speed or enough power to send Stevenson down to his first career defeat.

This was a slow-paced fight, and not particularly exciting to watch for some boxing fans. Stevenson is VERY methodical, and he’s not a risk taker. The lack of power for Stevenson was there to be seen. Unfortunately, Stevenson’s power hasn’t improved since he turned pro, and it doesn’t look like it ever will.

Bob Arum compares Shakur Stevenson to Floyd Mayweather

”I want him to fight a couple more fights before he moves up,” Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum said about Shakur. ‘‘(Stevenson) reminds me of a left-handed Floyd Mayweather.”

Arum is going a little overboard in comparing Stevenson with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Although Stevenson does box in a slightly similar way as Mayweather, he’s blazing fast of hand like he was, and not as powerful. When Mayweather fought at 130, he had good punching power, and an incredible hand speed. Stevenson doesn’t possess hand speed anything like the way Mayweather did. If anything, Stevenson’s hand speed might compare to Mayweather right now at 42, but not how he was when he was younger. Mayweather looked slow of hand in his last fight against Tenshin Nasukawa last December.

Gonzalez tried to push the action against Stevenson, but he was elusive and wasn’t willing to stand and brawl. The fight wasn’t super exciting to watch compared to some of the younger fighters in the game like Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis and Teofimo Lopez. Stevenson isn’t that kind of a fighter. He’s more of a pure boxer, who uses his reach and skills to win fights rather than speed and power. Haney is a lot faster and much more powerful than Shakur. If Stevenson does move up to lightweight one of these days, he could have problems if his power doesn’t improve.

It might be a good idea for Stevenson to stop at super featherweight, and stay in that weight class. At 5’8″, it might be difficult for Stevenson to keep his weight down for long. Once his metabolism slows, Stevenson could be forced to move to 14o or 147. Those are weight classes where fighters need power to exist. They can’t make it happen in those weight classes if they’re a finesse fighter like Stevenson.

Stevenson has competition at 126 in Russell Jr., Santa Cruz or Warrington

There are three talented fighters that would be perfect for Stevenson to fight at featherweight in Gary Russell Jr., Leo Santa Cruz and Josh Warrington. However, it’s unlikely Stevenson will fight any of them before he moves up to super featherweight after 2 or 3 more fights. Stevenson won’t stay at 126 for long. The southpaw Stevenson is still growing, and probably should have already moved up to 130 already. He looks a little soft in the body for featherweight.

In the 2016 Olympics, Stevenson was beaten by Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez by a 2-1 score. Ramirez’s superior hand speed was too much for Stevenson in that fight. Stevenson was pretty upset about the loss, but it was clear that he lacked the speed to beat the highly talented Cuban.

Shakur calls out Josh Warrington

”It’s an amazing feeling. I want Josh Warrington,” Stevenson said after his win over Gonzalez. ”You said you wasn’t going to fight me until I got a title. I got a title now. Let’s work.”

It might be a mistake for Stevenson to take on IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington (30-0, 7 KOs) right now, as the British fighter is looking incredibly good right now. Warrington brings a lot of the same elements to the table as Robeisy Ramirez. In fact, Warrington is like another Ramirez, and is improving with his punching power.

Earlier in his career, Warrington was known as being a good volume puncher, but now he’s starting to develop his power. He’s a lot to deal with right now for anyone in the featherweight division. It might end badly for Stevenson to take on Warrington, because he’s got the talent to do what Ramirez did to him in the 2016 Olympics.

Stevenson might end up looking bad even if he beats Warrington, because he would be forced to move a lot to avoid his attacks. Boxing fans don’t want to see movers. They like to see guys mixing it up. That’s why Stevenson’s fight with Gonzalez was boring for a lot of boxing fans. Stevenson wasn’t standing and mixing it up. It was all movement, and evasive stuff from him.

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