Shakur Stevenson feels his power has improved at 130
By Jeff Aronow: After just one fight at 130, Shakur Stevenson says he can already feel the difference in his punching power. Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) stopped the usually durable Felix Caraballo (13-2-1, 8 KOs) in the sixth round in his debut in the super featherweight division on June 9.
Steevenson will need more power once he goes after the talented 130-pounders Miguel Berchelt. Oscar Valdez, Carl Frampton, Joseph Diaz, and Jamel Herring.
Stevenson’s lack of punching power is something that he is often criticized for since he turned professional. What some fans fail to realize is Stevenson spends a lot of energy on defense, and that keeps him from being able to knock out his opponents. To get the knockouts that fans want to see, fighters have to be willing to take risks.
That added power that the 22-year-old Stevenson has at 130 has convinced him to stay in this division and go after the top guys. It’s Shakur’s call whether to stay at 130 or go back down to 126, but his promoter Bob Arum wanted to match him against IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington.
Going back down and waiting on Warrington could entail Stevenson sitting around for 12 months, and it’s not worth it. Stevenson’s career will advance faster if he stays at super featherweight rather than if he moves back down.
At this point, Stevenson isn’t going to be fighting any big names in 2020 unless it’s with a large live crowd, and that doesn’t look like it’s happening.
Gaining more strength at 130
“I felt a lot more stronger, and I felt my punches had a lot more impact,” said Shakur Stevenson to Fighthype. “And I felt a lot better like I’m a true 130-pounder. I take stuff from all these guys [Terence Crawford].
“That’s my style. I got good defense, but I can’t say I’m better than any of those guys [Pernell Whitaker, Crawford, and Floyd Mayweather Jr], and I haven’t proven myself yet. I still got a lot more to prove. And I watch a lot of boxing,” said Shakur when asked how he improves.
“I watch a lot of Floyd, and I watch a lot of Pernell Whitaker. When I watch a good fighter, I kind of pick up on some of the moves that they do. I’m already defensive-minded. My mindset is to hit and not get hit, and I think I definitely caught on to that,” said Stevenson.
If Stevenson wants to build a big fan base, he needs to fight more like Andre Ward than Mayweather, Crawford, or Whitaker. Boxing fans like knockouts and Ward was better in that respect than the guys that Shakur has been studying. A fast way for Stevenson to become a star is to be aggressive like Sugar Ray Robinson. That’s another fighter that Stevenson would do well to emulate.
Sugar Ray (174-19-6, 109 KOs) started his career out at 135, and he was knocking everyone out in that weight class, but he was swinging away. He wasn’t trying NOT to get hit the way that Shakur fights. Robinson had a 25-year pro career and had a lot of success, and is one of the greatest fighters of all time.
Shakur talks about the young 135-lb draft class
“This is definitely one of those draft classes like when Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, and all of those guys came out, this is one of those eras,” said Stevenson on the young lightweights. “You’ve got big hitters, you’ve got Tank, you got me, you’ve got Devin.
“There’s a lot of hitters there. So I think that plays a part, and I think we’re going to be special in our own way. I think I’m going to outlast everybody. I think I’m going to be the last man standing for sure. I’m a special fighter, and they don’t come along often. And I think that I take boxing seriously.
“Some of those guys do stuff outside of the ring, and I don’t do stuff like that, though. I take boxing serious inside and outside of the ring, and I think I’ve got a lot of longevity for my career. I’m a lot more serious, and I’ve seen fighters that do stuff outside of the ring and go partying,” said Stevenson.
It’s impressive the amount of young talent that has accumulated in the 135-pound weight class recently. Stevenson should try and move up to the 135-pound division soon before some of thee guys move up to 140.
These are the young lions that Shakur is talking about:
- Ryan Garcia
- Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis
- Devin Haney
- Teofimo Lopez
Stevenson taking stuff that other fighters do
“I’ve also been around great fighters like Andre Ward. I think that taking stuff that they do with the good side with Andre Ward, Terence Crawford, and them guys. And I think that helps me a lot. I see it as, Do I want to have fun now, or do I want to live the rest of my life as a world champion?’
“And I realize that I’d rather have fun when I’m retired because having fun now will hurt my career rather than help my career. I already got that in my mind that I want to be one of the best.
“The guys that I watch on Youtube, Pernell Whitaker, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Sugar Ray Robinson, I want to be in that aspect. The other fighter looks at me the same way I look at them. I got a lot of signature moves,” said Stevenson.
There are a lot of fighters that Stevenson can watch to emulate besides the likes of Crawford, Ward, Mayweather, and Robinson. Those are a good bunch, but hopefully, Stevenson isn’t limiting himself.
Whitaker had a decent fan base during his career, but he wasn’t at the level of guys like Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather, and Manny Pacquiao. Would Whitaker have been more popular if he’d been a knockout puncher? Probably. The fans want to see more than watching a guy dodge punches for 12 rounds.
For Stevenson to be a pay-per-view fighter someday, he’ll need to shoot for knockouts like we saw against Caraballo. Mayweather became popular without knocking guys out, but he had incredible hand speed. Stevenson isn’t nearly as quick as Floyd, and he’s not the trash talker he is.
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