By Jeff Aronow: Shakur Stevenson (17-0,9 KOs) says he wants to stay at super featherweight long enough to capture three titles to dominate the division before moving up to lightweight soon.
Stevenson won the WBO super featherweight title last Saturday night with a tenth round knockout win over champion Jamel Herring at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The fight was shown on ESPN and ESPN+.
Immediately after the fight, Shakur, 24, called out WBC 130-lb champion Oscar Valdez for a unification.
It’s unclear why Stevenson called out Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) because it was clear before the fight that Oscar would be taking on Emanuel Navarrete next.
Shakur should be using his title better by putting his energy into fighting guys that are available to fight him, and his best chance of that happening is for him to go up to 135.
The magic question is, why isn’t Shakur eager to move up to 135? The featherweight division is dead in comparison.
STEVENSON TO MOVE TO 135 SOON
“Most definitely. I feel like it’s got to happen because I feel like we as boxers have to fight the best boxers, and Oscar Valdez is one of the best boxers in my division, and I’m one of the best fighters in the division,” said Shakur Stevenson to Jalen & Jacoby.
“Nah, we’re not going to move up to 135 just yet,” said Stevenson when asked if he’d be interested in moving up to lightweight. “I want to win several belts at 130 and dominate the division.
“And I want to be the man at 130. I got to win more than this one belt that I got to do that. We’re going to get there. We’re not too far from going to 135, and I can’t wait to get there too.
“I want to be a household name and get more known in the sport of boxing, and I got to keep putting on shows like that to do it,” said Shakur.
The move to 135 could be sooner than Stevenson thinks if he fights himself shut out by the other champions at 130. It’s already clear that Stevenson WON’T be getting a unification match with WBC super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez.
Unless Top Rank throws a bunch of money at WBA 130-lb champion Roger Gutierrez, he likely won’t want to fight Stevenson either.
With Valdez and Gutierrez potentially off the table for Shakur to fight, the only belt left is the vacant IBF 130-lb title.
Stevenson will likely need to try and set up a fight with #1 IBF Shavkat Rakhimov if he wants to get his hands on that tile one day.
If you look at it logically, Stevenson is wasting his time by staying at 130, and he should move up to 135 right now because he can almost immediately start getting big fights.
It’s a far better use of Stevenson’s time if he moves up to lightweight right now and goes after the titles against Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, and Gervonta Davis.
SHAKUR WANTS OSCAR VALDEZ NEXT
“I feel like it needs to happen, and I feel like it needs to happen next,” Shakur said about wanting a fight against Oscar Valdez. “And I want Valdez to stop running. That’s all I feel like. I feel like he’s running. I don’t feel like he can keep running no more.
“It was supposed to happen at 126,” said Shakur about a fight between him and Oscar Valdez.
“I mean, he kind of moved up in weight after saying he would stay and wait for Leo Santa Cruz and Josh Warrington.
“But it’s all on him now. I can’t keep calling it, and he can’t keep ducking. He keeps trying to ignore my name and act like I don’t exist, but I clearly exist, and I’m clearly here. So I don’t know what we’re waiting on,” said Shakur about Valdez.
WBO super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez may be focusing on winnable money fights against opposition that matches his style.
Going up against a defensive artist isn’t Valdez’s cup of tea, obviously, and you can understand why he’s not rushing to make the fight with Shakur. If the shoe were on the other foot, Shakur would be just as reluctant.
Stevenson sounds needy & desperate
Rather than wasting time sounding like a needy/desperate fighter without options, Shakur should forget about Valdez and focus on fighting the guys that will face him. It’s forlorn for Shakur to continue to call Oscar Valdez out night and day. Move on already; stop begging for that fight.
Vasily Lomachenko is an excellent option for Stevenson, as long as he’s willing to move up to 135 to fight him. It’s unrealistic for the 24-year-old Shakur to play A-side with Lomachenko and expect him to come down to 130.
If that’s what Stevenson’s expectation is, he’s going to end up missing that fight too.
Of course, Stevenson might not be eager to fight Lomachenko, so his requests to have Loma come down to 130 to fight him could be his way of ducking the Ukrainian.
BEING COMPARED TO MAYWEATHER
“I can’t be mad at the comparison,” said Shakur when asked about his thoughts on being compared to a young Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“And I feel like I’m the first Shakur Stevenson, and I’m going to keep saying that.
“I appreciate everyone comparing me to Floyd, but I am my own fighter, and I’m going to keep working at being my own fighter. It’s definitely a good comparison, and it means I’m doing something right.
“I’m kind of used to it now,” said Stevenson about his thoughts on dominating Jamel Herring last Saturday night.
“Every fight, we dominate and put on shows like this. I feel with this fight; it was a better opponent than everybody expected it to be a harder fight than it was.
“We didn’t prepare for a hard fight. We prepared to dominate, and that’s what we do,” said Shakur.
The boxing fans that compare Shakur Stevenson to Floyd Mayweather Jr. probably weren’t around to have seen Floyd when he was young. If they had seen him, they’d realize that Stevenson is nothing like him.
Mayweather had a different style and was more aggressive and willing to take punishment to win fights. Stevenson is far less aggressive, and he darts backward when his opponents throw shots.
Despite having better hand speed than Stevenson, Mayweather took more risks and wasn’t content with pitching defensive shutouts like Shakur.
Stevenson can only be the best version of himself because he’s not the next Mayweather. Shakur has his own style, and there’s nothing wrong with that.