Shakur Stevenson wants Ryan Garcia or Leo Santa Cruz
By Chris Williams: Shakur Stevenson wants to fight Leo Santa Cruz and Ryan Garcia, and he’s hoping he can get one of them to give him a shot. Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) says he’s following Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) on social media, and he’s made it clear to him that he wants to face him at 130.
Ryan Garcia has been talking about wanting a big fight, and here it is waiting for him on a silver platter. Stevenson wants to face Ryan, and he believes he become a superstar with a victory.
Although Santa Cruz mentioned casually in a recent interview that he’d like to fight Shakur, but he didn’t look truly interested.
Shakur says a contest between him and Ryan Garcia would have a similar build-up to a Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Oscar De La Hoya clash, and it would turn him into a superstar overnight.
There’s a world of difference between what Stevenson would accomplish in fighting the popular King Ryan over the 31-year-old Santa Cruz, who is coming off of an unimpressive win over Miguel Flores last November. That was Santa Cruz’s first fight at 130, and he labored to a dull win over a guy that had lost two out of his last four fights.
Stevenson targeting Leo Santa Cruz
“I’m ready to fight Leo Santa Cruz tomorrow if I had to,” said Shakur Stevenson to ESNEWS. “I’m praying he answers the call. He hears me saying his name, and he’s trying to ignore it. I saw one interview where he said, ‘I’ll fight Shakur Stevenson in the future,’ but it doesn’t sound like he’s too in tune with fighting me as quickly as possible.
“I kind of want to fight Leo Santa Cruz,” said Stevenson. “Leo knows I want to fight him. I just added him on Twitter and on Instagram. I’ve done all I can do. It’s up to Leo.
“If it’s not Leo, then maybe Oscar Valdez. There’s a couple of names at 130 that I could get in the ring with. Most likely, Oscar Valdez. I think with Oscar, it’s a little bit harder, though, because I don’t know if he wants to fight me though,” said Shakur Stevenson.
“He had the opportunity to fight me at 126, and he vacated his belt and moved up to 130. And now that I’m here, I keep hearing him say that he wants to fight [Miguel] Berchelt, which I understand because Berchelt is a champion. I can’t knock that, but I don’t know if he really wants to fight me, though,” said Shakur on Oscar Valdez.
Shakur could get a fight against Santa Cruz. However, that probably won’t happen until after he faces guys like Gervonta Davis. Most boxing fans would agree that Tank will destroy Santa Cruz, which means Shakur won’t get any credit if he beats him afterward.
Shakur: I’d torch Ryan Garcia
“For sure, there are two names that I would jump in the ring with as quickly as possible. Ryan Garcia, because he’s got a big fan base right now,” said Shakur when asked who he’d like to fight at lightweight right now.
“It would turn into a Floyd vs. De La Hoya type of fight, and I’d torch him worse than Floyd did to De La Hoya, and I’d become a superstar myself. I don’t take nothing away from Ryan,” said Stevenson.
“He’s a good fighter, but I’m just saying that’s a fight that I would rather chase because of his following.”
There are a considerable size and power difference between the 5’10” Ryan Garcia and the light-hitting 5’8″ Shakur. Top Rank boss Bob Arum would most likely be against Stevenson moving up another weight class to face Ryan at 135.
Shakur fought his first fight at 130 against little known 2nd tier fighter Felix Caraballo last Tuesday, and it took him until the sixth round to score a knockout. Caraballo is someone that Ryan Garcia probably knocks out in the first round.
Top Rank may not be able to produce fights between Shakur and Santa Cruz or Ryan Garcia. Those are matches that would require a lot of negotiating to make, and it’s doubtful that Ryan’s promoters at Golden Boy would agree.
Stevenson doubts Tank Davis vs. Santa Cruz fight happens
“They’re talking about fighting at 130, and I don’t see how Tank can make 130,” said Shakur on a fight between Gervonta Davis and Santa Cruz. “Tank was struggling to make 135. I don’t see how he could get back down to 130 for a Santa Cruz fight. But if they do fight, Tank, of course, would beat Leo Santa Cruz. If you’re struggling to make 135 and you go back to 130, I think that’s a lot.
Stevenson picks Ryan Garcia to beat Abner Mares
“Man, when was the last time Abner Mares fought?” said Stevenson when asked who wins between Mares and Ryan Garcia. “Ryan Garcia [beats Mares]. He can’t take two years off and get in the ring with a young, active fighter like that. Plus, Ryan Garcia is bigger than him.”
Devin Haney beats Ryan Garcia says, Shakur
“I say Devin [Haney],” Shakur said in picking Haney to beat Ryan Garcia if they fight now. “I think Devin is a lot smarter now. And I don’t think he’s the same fighter as he was back in the amateurs.
“He’s kind of developed. Ryan has got a puncher’s chance. He’s got a big puncher’s chance because he can punch real good, and he’s got good timing. He’s always got a puncher’s chance. Don’t count Ryan out,” said Stevenson.
Shakur is wrong about Tank Davis vs. Santa Cruz fight not happening. There’s so much money Tank Davis can make in fighting Santa Cruz on Fox or Showtime pay-per-view.
Yeah, Tank had problems making weight at 135 for his last fight in December against 38-year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa, but that was a different situation. It was a mismatch, and there wasn’t as much money on the line.
Stevenson lists his top five at 135
“Lomachenko number one,” said Stevenson when asked to list the top five at 135. “Tank maybe #2. Tank or Teofimo [Lopez] at #2 because Teofimo fought some tough competition already. Either Tank or Teo is number three, Devin [Haney] and then Ryan [Garcia],” said Stevenson.
That’s a good list by Stevenson, but if these guys actually fought each other, it could end up entirely different. Lomachenko, 32, is getting old and starting to take punishment. It’s possible that Ryan Garcia and Teofimo Lopez beat him at this point.
Haney can’t punch at the pro level, and he might lose to all those guys. In Haney’s last fight against little known Alfredo Santiago, he had a real hard time winning a 12 round decision. Santiago exposed Haney in that match in landing a lot of punches and fighting him competitively the whole way.
Lomachenko is a fight Shakur wants for greatness
But the fight for greatness and the most competitive would be Lomachenko.
“By that time when it comes to me and him because we obviously going to meet. It’s not like he’s going to get any bigger. I’m going to get bigger. When it comes down to it, I’m going to be one of the first that really beats him.
“I don’t count the [Orlando] Salido loss as a real win because I watched that fight, and he was kind inexperienced at the time. I think I’ll be one of the first people that is experienced with Lomachenko.
“I’ve been in the ring with Lomachenko before. I was 5-0. When we first started sparring, he realized how good I was, and he kind of used me the whole camp. We did a lot of rounds. He’d have his sparring partners come to the gym, and they’d be gloved up and cupped up.
“They wouldn’t even get a chance to spar because he’s so competitive because he wanted to beat me up type s***, but he can’t, but he’s trying,” said Shakur Stevenson on Lomachenko trying to beat him.
“He’s competitive, and he used me basically the whole camp. I came there with no pay, but after the first week, they were paying me good. I don’t get dominated [in sparring].
“For every fight, I’ve got motivation because of the same people that if you do this, it’s not enough,” said Shakur. “Those same people kind of motivate me and make me want to do something different. I want to prove people wrong,” said Stevenson.
If Shakur is serious about wanting the Lomachenko fight for greatness, then he needs to get on the phone with his promoter Bob Arum and order him to make that fight as soon as possible.
With Lomachenko aging by the day, Shakur can’t afford to wait much longer to get that fight made. Lomachenko might lose his next fight against Teofimo, and Shakur will look like an opportunist fighting him after that.
DiBella doesn’t see Shakur Stevenson as next Mayweather
“It doesn’t matter much in my view,” said Lou DiBella to Seconds Out about Shakur Stevenson potentially staying at 130. “He’s an extremely talented boxer, and he’s not a power puncher.
“To the extent that he’s going to stop overmatched opponents, it’s going to be late. But he’s not going to lose to a lot of people. He’s a very skilled boxer. Interestingly, people talk about all the comparisons to Mayweather. Stop.
“If I had any criticisms from last night [watching Shakur’s fight with Felix Caraballo on ESPN], it was I had to listen to people talk too much hyperbole. But he is a good fighter,” said DiBella.
None of the boxing public is comparing Shakur to Floyd Mayweather. The comparison stuff is being done by Arum and some of the ESPN commentators. Shakur fights more like a blend of Terence Crawford and Andre Ward.
Crawford moves better, changes stances, and has better power than Shakur, but they’re still similar. The inside game that Shakur is showing now is a lot like Andre Ward.
Stevenson doesn’t maul and wrestle the way Ward would occasionally do when facing big punchers. Ward’s fights against Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Sergey Kovalev, and Sakio Bika were ugly to watch with all the grappling he did. Hopefully, Stevenson doesn’t start with the wrestling.
Shakur isn’t ready for top 135-pounders says Lou
“I don’t think he’s ready for the top at 130; I don’t think. He needs more seasoning, but you don’t have to rush with a kid like that,” said DiBella.
“He actually reminds me, his skillset and the way he fights in the ring, it reminds me the most of his manager, and he was also the commentator last night, Andre Ward. I consider Andre Ward an all-time great fighter, and obviously, I’m giving a pretty good compliment to Shakur Stevenson.
“Andre took criticism because he never blasted people out either, but he was brilliant. I think Shakur Stevenson has the skillset and the natural God-given ability to be a special fighter.
“I don’t know if he has the explosiveness or the passion or the power to be a superstar, but he’s certainly going to be a guy that is going to win a world title, whether it be at 130 or 126 or 135 eventually.
“This is a kid that will win a few world championships and will have a very good career. How good, time will tell. But he’s not stylistically by favorite kind of fighter, but I have the true respect for him and his ability and his skill set, and I think that he’s going to be formidable at 130,” said DiBella on Stevenson.
It would be nice if Stevenson were to take on WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt in 2021, but he’s going to have to wait in line. Oscar Valdez wants to fight Berchelt next, and that’s a match that Top Rank wants.
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