Shakur Stevenson says he’ll BEAT Gervonta Davis
By Jeff Aronow: The unbeaten Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis is on the hit list of Shakur Stevenson, and he feels he’ll beat him when the time comes for the two of them to fight. Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) sees a fight between him and the unbeaten WBA ‘regular’ lightweight champion Tank (23-0, 22 KOs) as a huge fight when they meet up, but he’s sure he’ll beat him.
Stevenson, 22, will need to move up to Gervonta’s division at 135 for that fight to happen someday because he won’t be able to count on him coming back down to 130 in a year or two.
Davis, 25, barely made the 135-lb limit for his last match against 38-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa on December 14. A lot of boxing fans view Tank’s struggles to make 135 as an indication that he’s NEVER going to be able to return to the 130-pound division.
It works in Shakur’s best interest if Tank Davis doesn’t come back down to super featherweight because he’s got his eyes on facing Leo Santa Cruz. Tank and Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) could be fighting this year on Fox pay-per-view once Premier Boxing Champions starts putting on fights.
Stevenson wants to fight Santa Cruz before Tank does, which is understandable. It works better for Shakur’s career if the 31-year-old Santa Cruz is still winning rather than coming off of a defeat to Tank Davis.
Santa Cruz interests Stevenson
“I think Berchelt is an awkward, tough fighter, really tough and really strong, but I think with my style, I’ll smoke him,” said Shakur to Fighthype. “I really want the Santa Cruz fight. And I think he’s the person for me.
“He’s got the biggest name in the division, and he’s got the most accolades. He’s been in the biggest fights. I think a fight between me and him would be perfect—Shakur Stevenson vs. Leo Santa Cruz fight. I think I’d smoke him, and I think I’d smoke the s*** out of Santa Cruz,” said Shakur Stevenson.
It’ll be hard for Shakur, 22, to get a fight against Santa Cruz, be it now or later on down the road. This fight could be blocked by the politics of boxing. Santa Cruz is with PBC and is managed by Al Haymon, and that could make it challenging to schedule a fight between him and Stevenson. Bob Arum of Top Rank promotes him.
In the meantime, Stevenson will be picking up experience at 130 against the top fighters in that division. He wants to face Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez. Those are suitable matches that’ll tell where Stevenson is at in terms of ability to fight at a high level at 130.
Shakur needs to make changes
It’s possible that Stevenson and Santa Cruz could fight in three to five years, but it would require that Shakur become a star. Santa Cruz isn’t going to fight Stevenson if he still has a small fan base like now. For Stevenson to get a fight with Santa Cruz, he’ll need to become the next big money fighter, and it’s still unknown whether he’ll get to that level.
Several things will need to happen for Stevenson to rise to become a Mayweather-like star. Shakur will need these changes to be made:
- Stevenson’s fighting style will need to involve more punching to get the knockout wins that interests fans.
- He’ll need to stop being so focused on the defensive side of his game. Defense fighters = poison in terms of attracting fans. Shakur doesn’t want to put the fans asleep with his defensive style.
- Matchmaking will need to be improved for Stevenson. He can’t become a star if he’s fighting lesser opposition like Felix Caraballo, Joet Gonzalez, and Alberto Guevara.
- A lot more trash talking needed by Stevenson to get the attention of fans. He’s too humble and soft-spoken most of the time, and the fans tune out for those type of fighters.
Shakur doubts Tank Davis vs. Santa Cruz fight happens
“I hope so, though,” said Stevenson when told that Santa Cruz’s management may doubt he can beat him and won’t want to make the fight. “We’ve got to be realistic. Is he [Santa Cruz] going to really fight Tank? Can Tank make 130? I’m just saying.
In his [Tank Davis] last fight at 135 [against Yuiriorkis Gamboa], he came in a pound and a half over. It doesn’t seem easy for him to make 135, so how is he going to make 130?” Stevenson said about Tank Davis.
“He [Santa Cruz] would be a dumb a** if he does that [moves up to 135 to take on Tank Davis], but if that’s what he wants to do. I think he has a better chance of making Tank come down to 130 in suckering him down rather than going up to 135 where Tank is stronger and more comfortable.
“Maybe if he brings him down to 130,” said Shakur about Santa Cruz being able to throw 100+ punches per round at 130. “But if he brings him to 135 where Tank is feeling good. He can’t do it,” Shakur said in predicting a win for Gervonta over Santa Cruz if their fight takes place at 135.
Given the amount of interest on Santa Cruz’s side, the Tank Davis fight WILL happen. If it were just Davis that wanted to fight Leo, then that content probably wouldn’t happen.
As we’ve seen in the past, Santa Cruz doesn’t respond to different fighters when he’s not interested in fighting them. Look at WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. He’s been calling out Santa Cruz for YEARS, and he still hasn’t gotten that fight.
Tank Davis wants the Santa Cruz fight, and the feeling is mutual on his side.
Tank Davis not a problem
“I think that’s going to be a big fight too down the line, me and Tank,” said Shakur on a fight against Tank Davis. “I think that’s going to be a real big fight. I’ve been saying that in interviews all along.
“I’m a competitive type of person. I want to fight the best and be in there fight the best. I think that. If me and him fight, I’ll make sure I come out on top.
“Yeah, Tank has got tons of talent, and he’s a real good fighter. I think I’m a lot more disciplined inside and outside the ring. He’s a really good fighter. You can never count Tank out. They’re trying to compare him to what AB was.
“Don’t get me wrong. AB was a hell of a fighter too, but I think Tank is more talented than AB was. Like I said, me and Tank can fight for all the marbles, and I think I’m going to come out on top. But it’s going to be a hell of a fight, though,” said Stevenson.
It’ll be a tough bout if Tank and Shakur fight right now, and it could go either way. If Stevenson mixes it up with Tank the way he did against Caraballo on the inside, he’s going to get hit with some great shots from Davis. We haven’t seen Stevenson’s chin tested in the pro ranks or even in the Olympics. Shakur hasn’t faced any punchers, and Davis is on another level in terms of power.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum isn’t going to let Stevenson fight a killer like Tank Davis until he’s been thoroughly tested against moderate opposition when he moves up to 135 in two or three years.
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