Promoter Bob Arum says Shakur Stevenson fought with an injured shoulder and other injuries in his narrow victory over Edwin De Los Santos last Saturday night in their battle for the vacant WBC lightweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Many fans thought Shakur (21-0, 10 Kos) was gifted the WBC title because he was better known than De Los Santos. At best, the fight should have been a draw because neither guy did enough to be given a clear win.
Interestingly, Shakur didn’t say anything about wanting to give a rematch with De Los Santos to prove that he was the better fighter than him at 100% because he clearly didn’t show that he was the superior fighter with that track meet style used in the fight.
Arum doesn’t say why Shakur didn’t postpone the fight, as that would have been the reasonable move to make for the sake of the fans and for his popularity, such as it is.
What’s unclear is whether Shakur has fought with injuries his entire 21-fight career, as he’s always performed like he did last Saturday night, retreating, and fighting defensively in a boring manner. Shakur fought that way in the Olympics and lost to Robeisy Ramirez.
“We had him visiting doctors in the weeks before the fight. I think he, therefore, fought a very cautious fight. But it was a stinker,” said Arum to Boxingscene about Shakur’s performance against De Los Santos.
Stevenson took away De Los Santos’ offense by running
“Yes, De Los Santos did have athleticism, but Shakur was able to take that away with his defense,” said Tim Bradley, a HUGE fan of Stevenson’s, talking to ProBox TV, putting his spin on a fight that arguably could have gone the other way.
“It was a difficult fight for Shakur. It probably would have been a difficult fight for two hands. He had heat all the way through the fight. He was throwing bombs all the way through. He had power all the way through the fight. That’s dangerous,” said Bradley.
What did Bradley expect from De Los Santos? The guy is only 24 years old. It’s not like he was an old guy who would lose his power in the later rounds. Physically, De Los Santos was younger, faster, and MUCH more powerful than the light-hitting Shakur, who was slower and was spoiling by running & clinching whenever he’d get near.
“Styles make fights, and De Los Santos was one of those styles that was difficult for Shakur. Another southpaw with speed and punching power and movement. It was a difficult fight for him, but did you watch Shakur’s last three performances? I’m asking you that. Did you like what he did against those guys?” said Bradley.
Shakur stunk out the joint in his last three fights, fighting in a boring manner.
Shakur’s previous three fights:
– Shuichiro Yoshino
– Oscar Valdez
– Robson Conceicao
“Styles are different. This was a dangerous style to deal with, and Shakur fought him with one hand. He boxed his ears off and did what he had to do to get the W,” said Bradley about Shakur’s victory over De Los Santos.
Did Shakur box De Los Santos’ ears off? This writer saw Shakur throwing nothing but jabs, missing most of them, flinching & retreating at every feint or move by De Los Santos to go on the attack. When Edwin came close to land shots, Stevenson would grab him in a clinch. It was awful to watch.
Bradley says Shakur beats Tank Davis
“You can’t turn your back on a fighter after one fight,” said Bradley about Shakur. “He impressed you with his last couple of fights to even get you to watch this fight. Moving forward, you step up the competition with Shakur. He’s going to learn from this.
“When he fights Tank Davis, I’m letting you know right now. He’s going to beat Tank,‘ said Bradley about Stevenson, who he thinks will be able to get a fight with Gervonta Davis, which would seem very unlikely after his performance against De Los Santos.
For Bradley’s sake, hopefully, he doesn’t hold his breath waiting for Tank Davis to fight Shakur because it’s safe to say, he will NEVER fight him. Why? It’s obvious. Shakur is a runner, and top guys don’t want to fight negative spoilers like that, as it’s not a boxing match. It’s a track meet type of contest.
“Yes, he is,” said Bradley when asked if Shakur is his top, #1 lightweight in the division. “Defensively, he can’t be touched. Defensive wins championships. Floyd Mayweather, he’s probably the next Floyd. Call him the next Floyd Mayweather because Floyd was a quote, unquote boring fighter.”
Nah, Shakur is definitely NOT the #1 lightweight in the division based on popularity or talent. He’s the best defensive fighter, but only because he runs. Take away Shakur’s pull-back, retreating style, and he gets lit up like we saw in his fight with Robeisy Ramirez in the 2016 Olympics.
Shakur is the most boring fighter in the lightweight division, hands down, and Bradley failed to mention that category. That should be one of the categories that are measured by fans.
It will be interesting to see what Arum does with Shakur after his next fight, as that’s the last one on his Top Rank contract. Does Arum pay Shakur a boatload of money to have him re-up with Top Rank, or does he wash his hands with the dull fighter, letting him be some other promoter’s problem?
Given how much complaining Arum did about Guillermo Rigondeaux in the past, saying he was a boring fighter, you’d think that he’ll let Shakur walk after his contract with Top Rank is up, and he’s on another level in terms of being a dull fighter. Rigondeaux was far more entertaining to watch than Shakur, but for some reason, Arum hasn’t been lighting into the Stevenson the way had done with Rigo. I wonder why.
Should fans prefer boring fighters like Shakur?
“I loved watching Floyd Mayweather, the genius inside the ring,” said Bradley. “I loved that. I loved the fact that he could fight and box without getting hit. That’s the sweetness of the game. That’s the sweet science.
“That’s what I love. I understand you guys out there want that rock ’em sock ’em type of robot, but you don’t understand what that does to a fighter after his career. That damages you,” said Bradley.
It doesn’t matter what Bradley says about what it does to a fighter when he spends his career fighting wars. Fans STILL prefer to see exciting fighters as opposed to boring ones like Mayweather or Shakur Stevenson.
Athletes in the NFL get physically damaged as well with CTE, joint and leg injuries that impair them after they retire, but that doesn’t stop fans from wanting to watch the sport.
If Bradley wants fighters to be defensive like Shakur, it will destroy boxing, making it unwatchable and driving fans away to other sports, like MMA. In that sport, the defensive guys aren’t popular; fans prefer to see exciting brawlers, and the ones that hit & run don’t have huge fan bases in the MMA, and the same with boxing.
Bradley may not like it, but that’s his problem, and he will have to live with it. Fans will NOT want to watch boring fighters, no matter how much Tim complains about what happens to the exciting ones after their careers are over.
“If I’m sitting up in the hospital, are you guys going come visit me? No, you’re not going to come visit me,” said Bradley, continuing to make a case for why he feels fans should prefer watching boring fighters who use the boring retreating style that Shakur uses to win his fights.
“If I’m in a wheelchair and I can’t talk, are you guys going to send me some money? No, not at all,” said Bradley.