Boxing Results: Shakur Stevenson beats Toka Kahn Clary
By Chris Williams: As predicted, Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) got a chance to show off his skills in beating a non-threat in Toka Kahn Clary (28-3, 19 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision in a fight that was one-sided from start to finish at the Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Like the pre-fight build-up, the fight lacked excitement and drama, as Stevenson was content to box and not get hit. Kahn Clary tried to land his shots, but it proved to be nearly impossible.
The one-sided nature of the fight, along with Stevenson’s emphasis on not getting hit, made the contest boring to watch compared to the undercard fights involving arguably more exciting fighters.
Shakur upstaged by Berlanga and Nakatani
Unfortunately for Stevenson, he was upstaged by Robeisy Ramirez, Edger Berlanga, and Masayoshi Nakatani.
Those three fights put in far more interesting to watch fights than the 23-year-old Stevenson, who has the Floyd Mayweather Jr style of fighting, but without the hand speed and the willingness to stand in the pocket.
Top Rank is hoping to turn the 2016 Olympic Silver medalist Shakur Stevneosn into a star just as they’ve tried and failed with Terence Crawford, but he’s missing that spark that is needed to do that.
As a fan, I thought Stevenson looked incredibly boring to watch last night with his performance against Clary, and this isn’t the first time that he’s failed to impress.
I hate to say it, but I think Top Rank is going in the wrong direction to build Stevenson into a start because I don’t see him having the ingredient needed for him to get to the next level.
Super middleweight Edger Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs) knocked out Ulises Sierra in the first round to pick up his 16th straight first-round knockout.
In another undercard fight last night, Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) may have ended the career of once highly hyped lightweight Felix Verdejo (27-2, 17KOs) in knocking him out in the ninth round.
Top Rank should have learned their lesson with Crawford in realizing early that he doesn’t possess the right fighting style to become a star. Stevenson fights a lot like Crawford, throwing single punches, lacking huge power or speed, and dodging shots.
The fighters that boxing fans want to see are more offensive-minded and possess a willingness to punch. Teofimo Stevenson, Gervonta Davis, and Ryan Garcia have the ingredients to become stars, but sadly, we do not see that with Shakur Stevenson.
Top Rank needs to wake up and smell the coffee, so they don’t come up empty with all the money and effort they’re putting into Stevenson to make him a star.
Bob Arum of Top Rank should know by now that you can’t cram a fighter down the throats of the fans and expect them to become stars just by televising their fights frequently and having them given glowing praise by the talking heads from ESPN.
It doesn’t matter how many great things the ESPN commentators say about Shakur Stevenson, and he’s still incredibly boring to watch in Chris Williams’ view. I’d much rather see Teofimo Lopez, Vasily Lomachenko, and Edger Berlanga fight than Stevenson. Those guys are fun to watch; Shakur isn’t
We saw the same painfully dull style from Shakur in his fights against Joet Gonzalez, Felix Caraballo, and Christofer Diaz. Stevenson looked lackluster in all those fights, and it hard to sit through the performances.
Stevenson blames Kahn Clary for his inability to KO him.
“He was an experienced fighter that knew how to survive,” said Stevenson about his opponent Kahn Clary. “You’ve got fighters that know how to survive, and he’s got a lot of experience.”
“I want the WBO belt first. The winner of Jamel and Carl Frampton.,” said Stevenson added.
Well, the reason that Kahn Clary was able to survive for 10 rounds isn’t entirely due to him having loads of experience. Stevenson is failing to see the true reason why Kahn Clary was able to stay in there.
The real reason Clary, 28, went the full 10-round distance on Saturday night is because Stevenson lacks punching power, and he doesn’t throw enough sustained combinations.
When fighters lack power, they can still score knockouts when they throw many sustained combinations.
With Stevenson’s safety-first style of fighting, he mainly threw single punches against Toka Kahn last Saturday night, and he would always jump back when he saw anything coming back at him.
It was a reset each time for Stevenson when he would move back to avoid getting hit and kept him from getting any momentum going to try and knock Kahn out. If Stevenson had stayed in the pocket and just kept firing punches, he would have knocked Clary out.
Shakur is too defensive-minded
Regrettably, Stevenson’s defensive-style of fighting wasn’t suited for him to accomplish the task, as he didn’t want to stand his ground and was throwing too many single shots.
Arguably the best round for Kahn Clary came in the eighth when he landed a few nice shots. Other than that, there wasn’t a round that Clary came close to winning.
The judges scored it 100-90, 100-90, and 100-90. Boxing News saw it the same way. Kahn Clary didn’t do enough to win any rounds, and he looked more like a paid sparring partner than an opponent.
The ESPN commentators talked about how Stevenson gained his “man strength” now, but this writer didn’t see that.
There’s no improvement in Stevenson’s power since moving up to 130, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to make the adjustments he needs for him to compete with the best in this division.
The only thing I see with Stevenson is he looks bigger and puffy-looking at super-featherweight as if some of the weight that he put on in moving up from 126 was, in fact, fat, not muscle.
As far as I can tell, Stevenson is still punching like a featherweight without an increase in power, and he looks slower at 130 now.
It’s understandable why Stevenson moved up to 130, considering there are more opportunities for bigger-money fights in this weight class. But I don’t see any improvements in Stevenson’s game or, more importantly, his power.
Ward predicts Shakur will be the “Best fighter in the world”
“Shakur is going to be just fine. If he stays focused, one day he’s going to be the best fighter in the world,” said Andre Ward.
I hate to disagree with Ward, but Stevenson is never going to be the “best fighter in the world” in my view because he’s boring, he lacks power, and he has no charisma.
To be the best fighter in the worst, you’ve got to be able to entertain, and you need some punching power.
Stevenson says he wants to fight the winner of the Jamel Herring vs. Carl Frampton fight next, and those are good options for him.
I see Stevenson beating the winner of those fights, seeing that neither of them are great talents for the 130lb division.
WBO 130-lb champ Herring is viewed as the weakest link among the belt-holders at super featherweight, and he looked awful in his last fight against Jonathan Oquendo last September.
Stevenson will have no problems beating the Herring-Frampton winner, but where he will have major issues is when he takes on WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt in 2021 or 2022.
Miguel Berchelt will expose Stevenson
Berchelt has too much power, throws too many punches, and has too much size for Stevenson. If Shakur faces Berchelt, he’s going to look bad like he did in losing to Robeisy Ramirez in the 2016 Olympics. Robeisy was too good on offense, and he took advantage of Stevenson’s focus on not getting hit.
In boxing, fighters need to let their hands go and forget about their defense if they want to beat the best to excel at the highest levels. Against Robeisy, Stevenson failed to do that, which is why he lost. Coming events cast their shadows before.
Once Stevenson gets in the Berchelt, we’ll see a replay of how Shakur lost to Robeisy. Berchelt will outwork him and take advantage of Stevenson’s low punch volume, lack of power, and his defensive-focus.
I hope Stevenson doesn’t cry afterward and start talking about how he was robbed because he needs to take his losses without complaints.
I can see a scenario in which Shakur will run from Berchelt once he realizes that the Mexican fighter throws too many punches for him to deal with and he too much power him to take.
Once that happens, Stevenson will lose rounds just as he did against Robeisy, and he’ll come up empty. Of course, you can’t rule out the possibility of Stevenson being given a controversial decision over Berchelt.
That’s always a possibility, especially when dealing with a fighter that is being given a huge promotional push the way Stevenson is with Top Rank and ESPN.
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