Shakur Stevenson vs. Toka Kahn Clary on Dec.12 on ESPN
By Chris Williams: Shakur Stevenson will fighting for the second time at super featherweight against a second-tier fighter Toka Kahn Clary in the main event on ESPN in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Carl Moretti of Top Rank told ESPN this week about former WBO featherweight champion Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) taking the fight against the 28-year-old Clary (28-2, 19 KOs).
Stevenson needs round to get the rust out of his system, and it’s hoped that Kahn Clary can hang around long enough for him to accomplish that.
In Shakur’s recent debut at super featherweight, he blew out the hapless Felix Caraballo in a sixth-round knockout last June in Las Vegas.
Caraballo was the equivalent of a speed bump for Stevenson, who toyed with him before knocking him out in the sixth round in a one-sided contest from start to finish.
Unfortunately, Kahn Clary is at the same level talent-wise as Caraballo, which means the boxing fans will see another mismatch involving Stevenson in his next outing.
Shakur Stevenson using Kahn Clary s a tune-up
According to ESPN, the rationale behind Stevenson taking on the southpaw Kahn Clary is to prepare him for fights against Vasily Lomachenko and IBF 130lb champion Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz, both of which are a southpaw.
Stevenson’s chances of getting a fight against Lomachenko are arguably much higher than him getting a crack at IBF super featherweight champion Jo Jo Diaz, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
It’s still unclear whether Lomachenko, 32, will return to the 130-pound division, as he lost his last fight against IBF lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in October, and he’ll want to try and avenge that loss.
At the very least, Lomachenko might not want to be seen by boxing fans as fleeing from the 135-lb division to the relative safety of the 130-lb weight class. The fighters at 130 aren’t as powerful and as large as the 135-pounders, who are bigger, stronger, and younger than Lomachenko.
It was already known that the 23-year-old Shakur would be in the main event on his own December 12th card after WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt became ill with COVID 19 and was forced to pull out of his headliner position against Oscar Valdez for that same date.
Although Stevenson offered to fill in to face the highly-rated former WBO 126-lb champion Valdez, Top Rank didn’t take him up on that offer.
The 2016 Olympic silver medalist Stevenson recently relinquished his WBO 126lb strap that he’d won in October of 2019 against Joet Gonzalez. Stevenson moved up to 130 to broaden his career against the popular super featherweights.
Stevenson to take on the Herring-Frampton winner
If the 126-lb division had anyone worth fighting, Stevenson would have likely stayed. But even if he had parked himself at featherweight, his chances for big fights wouldn’t have been good.
Stevenson is one of those fighters that is avoided by the top guys. For that to change, he’ll need to become a superstar to where his opponents are willing to face him due to the big paydays they get.
At 130, #1 WBO, #2 WBC Stevenson, has a good chance of getting a title shot against the winner of the fight between WBO champion Jamel Herring and Carl Frampton.
Also, there are possibilities for Stevenson to fight the Berchelt vs. Valdez winner. If Vasily Lomachenko returns to the super featherweight division, he’ll be another option for Stevenson.
Kahn Clary has two defeats on his record in losing to Kid Galahad by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in 2018 and journeyman Jhon Gemino by a first-round knockout in 2016.
The main criticism that Kahn Clary gets from boxing fans is his resume is filled with wins over mediocre lower-level opposition. Although Clary has been a pro for 2012, he hasn’t transitioned from fighting elementary-level fighters to the advanced ones.
When Kahn Clary finally attempted to step it up for the first time in his career in 2018, he was completely dominated by Kid Galaad in a lopsided defeat.
Additionally, Kahn Clary’s first-round knockout loss to journeyman Jhon Gemino (21-12-1, 11 KOs) in 2016 kind of tells the whole story about his talent or lack thereof.
That’s why it’s disappointing that Top Rank has decided to match Stevenson against Kahn Clary rather than one of the talented contenders in the super featherweight division. Heck, Top Rank might as well match Shakur against Gemino at this point if they want to go lower level with him.
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