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Jamel Herring vs. Shakur Stevenson targeted for Nov.13th

Shakur Stevenson

By Jeff Aronow: WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring vs. Shakur Stevenson is in the works for November 13th. Promoter Bob Arum told Dan Rafael of WBN they are closing in on a deal between the two fighters for that date. Arum has yet to determine the location of the fight.

Herring (23-2, 11 KOs) had hoped to put his mandatory defense against the 24-year-old Shakur on hold. At the same time, he faced WBC super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez in a unification fight, but that will not happen.

Herring preferred to fight Oscar Valdez 

The World Boxing Organization wants the Herring vs. Stevenson fight next, and so does Top Rank. Herring would have likely made more money fighting Valdez than Stevenson, and the fight would have more stake.

If Herring had beaten Valdez, he’d become a two-belt champion at 130. Unfortunately, the way things are now, Herring is stuck making a mandatory defense against Stevenson, and the best he can hope for is to retain his WBO 130lb title with a win or a draw.

The undefeated Stevenson (16-0, 8 KOs) recently defeated Jeremia Nakathila by a 12 round unanimous decision on June 12th in a WBO 130-lb title eliminator to lock himself in as the mandatory to Herring.

Shakur Stevenson

Stevenson’s safety-first approach to the fight with Nakathila was widely criticized by boxing fans, many of whom didn’t like how Shakur failed to step on the gas to finish his over-matched opponent.

However, Stevenson revealed afterward that he didn’t feel comfortable stepping on the gas against Nakathila after taking some heavy shots from him.

Herring, 35, recently beat the former two-division world champion, Carl Frampton, by a sixth-round knockout on April 3 in Dubai.

It was a fine performance by Herring, who dominated the 34-year-old ‘The Jackal’ Frampton from start to finish, spoiling his plans on winning a third-division world title.

Shakur had previously agreed to step aside to allow Herring to defend against Frampton in the lucrative fight.

Having stepped aside once, Shakur wasn’t going to step aside a second time while Herring took on WBC champion Valdez in a unification. It’s a smart move by Stevenson to force his title shot because if Herring had fought Valdez, the fight’s winner likely would have vacated the WBO 130-lb title, which would have meant that Stevenson wouldn’t get a notable opponent for his title challenge.

We’ll see how well Stevenson deals with Herring’s height and punching power. Stevenson isn’t a big puncher, and his play it safes style of fighting hasn’t won him many fans since he turned professional.

Can Arum turn Shakur Stevenson into a star?

Arum hopes to turn Stevenson into a superstar, but he’s got his work cut out for him because he doesn’t have a fan-friendly fighting style.

Unless Shakur changes the way he fights, he might have a career similar to Terence Crawford. Stevenson will win titles, but he’ll likely be avoided because of his fighting style and because he doesn’t bring anything to the table.

Top Rank will need to figure out how to take Stevenson, with the cautious fighting style, and turn him into a household name. Floyd Mayweather Jr wasn’t the most entertaining guy to watch, yet he became a huge star.

A lot of the success that Mayweather had during his career was because of his trash-talking more than his dull fighting style.

Stevenson’s fighting style and popularity are similar to that of WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney. They’re both pure boxers who don’t have enough pop in their punches to score many knockouts.

Top Rank could greatly help – or hurt – Stevenson’s career if they match him against Teofimo Lopez, Vasily Lomachenko, or Gervonta Davis.

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