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Shakur Stevenson to headline on December 12th on ESPN

Shakur Stevenson

By Chris Williams: Shakur Stevenson will be headlining on December 12th against an opponent still to be determined on ESPN. The unbeaten super featherweight contender Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) will be replacing the canceled fight on December 12th between WBC 130-pound champion Miguel Berchelt vs. Oscar Valdez.

Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) has to pull out of his fight against Valdez after testing positive for COVID-19. Although Shakur, 23, quickly offered to face Valdez (28-0, 22 KOs) in the main event, Top Rank didn’t take him up on his offer.

You can connect the dots. Stevenson would have been too good for Valdez, and Top Rank is obviously saving him for Berchelt.

The 2016 U.S Olympic silver medalist Shakur last fought in June, stopping a badly over-matched Felix Caraballo in the sixth round in his debut at super-featherweight.

Shakur Stevenson making a fast turnaround

It’s not a big deal for Stevenson to return to the ring so soon after his fight with Caraballo, as he didn’t take many punches in that mismatch. It was a one-sided beat down that had did very little for Stevenson.

Shakur Stevenson

Hopefully, Top Rank matches Shakur against a live body because it doesn’t help his career and popularity if they continually match him against fodder-level opposition. Unfortunately, with only a month to go before Stevenson fights on December 12th, it’s not promising that Top Rank boss Bob Arum will be able to get a quality fighter to step in on one month’s notice to face Shakur.

If he were a world champion, it would be a different story. But Stevenson is just a contender at 130, and there’s no real gain for a top contender to face him on short notice unless Arum throws some money at them. With a live gate, that makes things difficult to come up with the revenue to get an elite-level super featherweight to face Stevenson. Why would they?

Stevenson, 23, had previously held the WBO featherweight belt but gave it up to seek out bigger and better opportunities at 130 against Berchelt, Valdez, Carl Frampton, and Jamel Herring, to name just a few fighters he’s targeting.

Had Stevenson stayed at 126, he would have languished, and his career would have been stifled. The featherweight division is currently a dead one now that all the popular fighters have moved up to 130. You can expect Emanuel Navarrete to be the next one to jump up to super-featherweight to advance his career soon.

Stevenson to face Herring vs. Frampton winner in 2021

Arum plans to match Stevenson against the winner of the January 2021 fight between WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton. He’s targeting Spring of next year for Stevenson to face the winner.

But according to ESPN, Stevenson expects the Herring-Frampton winner to vacate the WBO 130-lb belt without facing him quickly. That makes sense for them because their chances of beating Shakur would be almost nonexistent.

If you saw how bad Herring (22-2, 10 KOs) looked in his last fight in struggling to beat fringe contender Jonathan Oquendo by an eighth-round disqualification on September 5th, you’d know that he would little chance of defeating Shakur.

“I’m excited. I haven’t fought since June,” Stevenson said to ESPN. “I’m just looking forward to getting back in the ring. I keep calling the big champions out, but nobody is really responding right now.

“So I’ll get back in the ring next month, then see what happens. I have no clue who I’m fighting or even who the options, are but I’m ready.”

Predictably, Shakur will end up fighting for the vacant WBO super-featherweight title once the winner of the Herring-Frampton fight vacates the strap. You heard it here first from Chris Williams.

Shakur Stevenson

Whoever emerges with the WBO 130-lb title from Herring’s defense against Frampton will likely treat the title like it’s a hot potato and give it up rather than taking on Stevenson in a no-win situation.

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