Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has a big decision to make whether he’ll attempt to re-sign newly crowned WBC lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson to a new contract when it expires after his next fight with his promotional company.
Letting Shakur go after his contract expires might be the best thing Top Rank can do because he won’t suddenly become an entertaining fighter. Go back and look at Shakur’s performance against Robeisy Ramirez in the 2016 Olympics. It was identical to the one we saw against De Los Santos.
Stevenson ran in their gold medal match like last night against De Los Santos. The only difference is that Robeisy chased him around the ring, peppering him with shots and laughing at him. In the end, it was embarrassing to watch if you’re a Shakur fan.
Last night, it was the same timid-looking performance from Stevenson. Before the fight, De Los Santos labeled Shakur a “chicken,” and boy was he right.
Shakur looked frozen in fear
Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) looked plain scared in his questionable twelve round unanimous decision win over Edwin De Los Santos (16-2, 14 KOs) last Thursday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Arum used to complain about Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux being a boring fighter but was on a whole different perch in terms of being dull.
Even in Rigondeaux’s dullest performances, he was far more entertaining to watch than Shakur Stevenson was last night, as well as all of his other previous 20 fights.
Arum was more upfront with his views on Rigondeaux than he’s been with Shakur, which some might argue is because he had more of a fan base than Rigo did. We saw last night, though, that Stevenson will NEVER be a PPV superstar and definitely not a pound-for-pound #1.
Earlier this week, Shakur sounded like he was demanding that Top Rank give him Vasily Lomachenko in his next fight. He also casually mentioned that his contract with Top Rank expires after his next contest, which some might construe as Shakur giving them an ultimatum. That is to say, give him the Lomachenko fight next, or he won’t consider extending his contract with Top Rank.
At this point, why would Top Rank want to indulge Shakur by giving him Lomachenko when he’s just going to run around the ring, bore fans to tears, and win a questionable decision like we saw in the De Los Santos fight? Shakur did NOT deserve a win over De Los Santos. If anything, the fight was a draw, but you have to learn more about De Los Santos because he at least was trying to win.
Is it worth it for Top Rank to re-sign Shakur?
The fact is, Shakur has a boring style, which will not change, no matter how long he’s in the pro ranks. This isn’t a development issue. It’s more of a lack of a warrior’s heart, and you can’t instill something like that in a fighter.
It’s either there or it’s not. Shakur will never be an Audie Murphy type of soldier. He doesn’t have the mindset to put himself in harm’s way like Murphy.
Arum already has an exciting lightweight that entertains boxing fans, and appears destined to win a world title in Raymond Muratalla. They don’t need to re-sign Shakur because he’ll never be a fan-friendly fighter like Muratalla, or even the likes of George Kambosos Jr.
In hindsight, Arum did the right thing by having Shakur fight on Thursday rather than Saturday, which meant fewer boxing fans likely saw him perform.
It might be better for Arum & Top Rank to wash their hands of the 26-year-old Shakur, let him move on and sign with PBC, and maybe mess things up for them with his dull performances with whatever network they move to.
Should’ve offered this Bum 10% I was being too generous!
— Devin Haney (@Realdevinhaney) November 17, 2023
“Listen, they said they need answers today, huh?” said Andre Berto to Fighthype, reacting to Shakur Stevenson’s horrible performance against Edwin De Los Santos last Thursday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I think it was a very technical fight. I think both fighters respected each other’s skills, power from De Los Santos’ side. Sometimes when it’s very technical and each guy doesn’t want to make a mistake because they’re definitely going to have to pay for it, it may end up to be a boring fight.
“I don’t think any guy wanted to take any big risks tonight. They wanted to stay sharp. Shakur, of course, knew a lot about De Los Santos’ power, and De Los Santos, of course, knew about the skill set of Shakur, and he didn’t want to make.
“Sometimes that’s what you get. You get these guys that are playing this jousting game. It is sad because, at the same time, this is the entertainment business, and we want to see guys get to it.
“I know a lot of guys are going to be talking a lot of s**t tonight. The Devin Haneys, the Tanks, and all the other guys. They’re going to be talking a lot of s**t tonight. It’s GREAT for the big fights in the future,” said Berto, wearing his politician hat, trying to put a positive spin on Shakur’s awful performance.
“I think the big fight is going to be him [Shakur Stevenson] and Tank, for sure. Devin, of course, is a beast. We’re going to see what he’s going to do in his next fight [against Regis Prograis on December 9th]. We’re going to see how he looks.
“As you can see tonight. Shakur is very tricky, and if he doesn’t want to engage, he can easily lure you to sleep just by his style by trying to stay out of distance and try and make you make some mistakes if you get impatient with him.
“De Los Santos, he didn’t really get too impatient. He stayed in his bag, too. He was waiting to see if Shakur was going to make some mistakes, and like I said, he didn’t really want to engage like everyone wanted him to and that’s what you get sometimes,” said Berto about Stevenson.