WBC vacant 135-lb title at stake for Stevenson vs. Martin
By Dan Ambrose: The vacant WBC 135-lb title will be at stake for the Shakur Stevenson vs. Frank ‘The Ghost’ Martin bout when the two battle on November 16th or December 9th.
The unbeaten Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) and Martin (18-0, 12 KOs) agreed to a deal tonight for them to fight in Las Vegas or New York.
Mike Coppinger reports that if the Stevenson-Martin fight occurs on November 16th, it’ll be in Las Vegas; if it goes down on December 9th, it’ll be in New York.
Either way, it will be an exciting fight, with both fighters unbeaten and the vacant WBC lightweight title on the line.
Frank Martin didn’t look that impressive in his last contest against Artem Harutyunyan, and just barely came back to edge a twelve round unanimous decision last July.
With that said, Martin looked outstanding beating previously undefeated Michel Rivera last December, winning a wide 12 round decision against an Ali look-alike fighter. If Martin shows the form that he had for the Rivera fight, Stevenson is going to be in for a long night.
Shakur wants to capture his third division world title, and he hopes to use the WBC belt to lure WBA ‘regular’ champion Gervonta Davis to fight him.
That could prove to be a waste of time for Shakur, and there’s a chance he’ll waste years waiting & hoping for something that never happen. Instead of Shakur being frozen in fear of moving up to 140 to face the big dogs, he needs to make that move because 135 is a dead end for him.
Thus far, Stevenson has shown no interest in going up to light welterweight to pursue more meaningful fights against Teofimo Lopez, Subriel Matias, Ryan Garcia, Gary Antuanne Russell, and Devin Haney.
They obviously punch harder at 140, and Shakur would need to find some power to compete in that division because he can’t depend on his feet & reflexes to save him in that weight class.
Shakur will likely be avoided by the fighters that mean anything in the lightweight division; he’ll age, slowly lose hand & foot speed, and become food eventually for the younger fighters,
Undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney, in a shrewd career move, moved up to 140 after the World Boxing Council ordered him to defend against his WBC mandatory Shakur Stevenson.
Interestingly, the WBC gave Haney the ‘Champion in Recess’ tag, which allows him to return to the lightweight division to fight for his lightweight title. Normally, the ‘Champion in Recess’ tag is given to injured champions.
The WBC obviously likes Haney so much they are keeping the door open for him should have chosen to come back down, which is unlikely because he wouldn’t be leaving the 135-lb division if he thought he could beat Stevenson.
Many believe Haney saw the writing on the wall and knew he couldn’t win, so he beat feet and headed north to safer waters at 140. Haney will challenge WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis in late November or early December.
Stevenson will be the favorite against the 28-year-old Martin, but it won’t be an easy fight because ‘The Ghost’ can punch, and he will be on him all night.
It’s important that Shakur not run from Martin as he did in his fights with Jeremiah Nakathila and Oscar Valdez because he was getting booed. Shakur’s promoter Bob Arum was critical in the past of how boring Guillermo Rigondeaux’s fights were, but he was arguably more entertaining to watch than Shakur’s matches.
Rigondeaux could punch, and he’d stay in the pocket and not run around the ring when his opponents would come at him. Stevenson has got to stand his ground against Martin to make the fight entertaining.
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