Shakur open to Lomachenko fight, says Arum protecting Oscar Valdez
By Dan Ambrose: Newly crowned WBO super featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson says he’s open to a fight with Vasily Lomachenko if he moves down to 130, but the match he wants is against Oscar Valdez next.
Shakur states that he heard that Lomachenko would stay lightweight and won’t be returning to the 130-lb division, making it impossible for them to fight.
Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) wants to face WBC 130-lb champion Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) in a unification fight next, but he believes their mutual promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is “protecting” Oscar from him.
It’s being talked about that Valdez could face Emanuel Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs) in his next fight, which would be a huge one.
Oscar Valdez vs. Emanuel Navarrete = Huge fight
It’s understandable why Arum would make Valdez vs. Navarrete because it would arguably bring in more significant numbers than a Valdez-Stevenson match. Also, it’s a more winnable fight for Valdez than if he were to face the defensive-minded Shakur.
Navarrete is an all-action type of fighter, and he would be perfect for Valdez to go to war with.
It wouldn’t be a one-way fight like we saw in Shakur’s last two contests against WBO super featherweight champion Jamel Herring last Saturday night or his match before that against Jeremia Nakathilia last June.
Valdez will get hit back by Navarrete, and it’ll be exciting to watch. Unlike Miguel Berchelt, Navarrete won’t be weight drained when he steps in the ring to take on Oscar Valdez for his WBC super featherweight title.
Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs) is fighting next on December 11th against former IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey (30-3, 27 KOs) on ESPN. If Lomachenko wins that fight, it’ll be interesting to see if Arum matches him up against Stevenson at 130.
Lomachenko wants to avenge his loss to Teofimo Lopez, but Teo and his dad want nothing to do with him.
If Arum wants to build Stevenson into a star in a hurry, the perfect fight to help speed up the process is to match him against the former three-division world champion Lomachenko in early 2022.
It would be a sink or swim type of match-up for Shakur in taking on the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko, but if he’s the next Mayweather, as some boxing fans believe him to be, he should beat Loma with no problems.
Stevenson willing to fight Lomachneko
“Most definitely,” said Shakur when asked if he’d be willing to fight Lomachenko next. “But last time I heard him, he’s saying staying at 135.
“I’ve been calling his name out several times, and when I called out Oscar Valdez on ESPN, I said Lomachenko first.
“I’m down for a fight. I don’t duck no action. I’m with everything. I’ve been in the ring with Lomachenko [sparring] before. I’m down with that too,” said Shakur.
Lomachenko should call Shakur’s bluff by agreeing to come down to 130 to challenge him for his WBO title. If Lomachenko has no other options for big fights after he faces Commey in December, he can make the most money and noise by taking on Stevenson next.
It’ll be fun to see if ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko can figure out a way to beat Shakur, as the highly hyped 2016 Olympic silver medalist is looking difficult to beat right now.
Lomachenko would be facing a faster and much younger guy in Stevenson, but he’s got the talent to win if he’s not weight drained in coming back down to 13o.
Shakur will likely return to his dull ‘pull-back’ style of fighting if he faces Lomachenko next.
Against the slow, limited Herring last Saturday, Stevenson stayed in the pocket and quickly picked him apart with pinpoint shots all night long before stopping him in the tenth round.
Lomachenko would be a different story, though, because he’s too talented for Shakur to stay in the pocket with the entire fight. Unfortunately, we’ll probably see Stevenson use his normal hit & run pull-back style against Lomachenko to avoid getting hit.
When Shakur uses that style, he’s almost impossible to hit because he’s essentially fencing with a sword.
It’s incredibly dull to watch Stevenson’s pull-back style of fighting but very effective. Whether Lomachenko has enough youth left to defeat Shakur’s fencing style of battle is unclear.
Shakur: Arum is “protecting” Oscar Valdez
“There is no other fight,” said Shakur when asked if there is any other fight at 130 that would interest him if he can’t get Oscar Valdez next.
“I feel like that’s the main thing to do. I feel like [Emanuel] Navarrete is a 126-pounder, and he’s got the [WBO] 126-pound belt.
“I’ve been calling for Valdez. I feel like [Top Rank promoter] Bob [Arum] is protecting Valdez if he isn’t going to do that.
“I’d definitely do that,” said Stevenson in expressing interest in facing Valdez next.
It’s self-evident that Arum is protecting Oscar Valdez with the way he’s matched him as a pro, but you can’t blame him. Valdez is a money-maker, and it would be silly for Arum to put him in with a fencer like Shakur to see him lose in a boring fight.
It would be foolish for Arum to ruin Valdez’s money-making ability by putting him in with Stevenson because it’s a style-match-up, and there’s no real gain.
Stevenson isn’t super famous, and his amateur fighting style would be s bad one for Valdez. There’s nothing for Arum to gain in putting an exciting fighter like Valdez in with a guy like Shakur.
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