Robert Garcia Blasts Shakur and Teofimo for Ducking Muratalla

By Dan Ambrose - 04/03/2024 - Comments

Trainer Robert Garcia says world champions Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez both turned down fights against unbeaten phenom Raymond Muratalla in favor of lesser opponents, Artem Harutyunyan and Steve Claggett.

Garcia accuses Shakur and Teofimo of being reluctant to fight Muratalla, preferring to take arguably easier fights, Claggett, and the recently beaten Harutyunyan.

Trading Risky Fights for Easy Wins

What does the avoidance of Muratalla (21-0, 16 KOs) by WBC lightweight champion Shakur (21-0, 10 KOs) and WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo (20-1, 13 KOs) say about them as fighters? Are they risk-aversive fighters who talk a big game but fail to back up their boasting?

In Teofimo’s case, he’s coming a humiliating controversial decision win over Jamaine Ortiz, and he probably needs a confidence boost after being given a victory that the boxing world overwhelmingly had him losing last February. That was the second fight in the last three matches for Teofimo in which he was given a controversial victory.

In December 2022, Teofimo was given a ten-round split decision against Sandor Martin in New York. Sandor dropped Teofimo twice, and outboxed him the entire fight, making a monkey out of him in front of his own fans at MSG. After the fight, Teofimo looked shell-shocked, saying, “Do I still got it?”

Shakur’s Fragile Ego

What is surprising to some is that Shakur Stevenson, a guy who boasts a lot, turned down a fight against the dangerous Muratalla in favor of a match against Artem Harutyunyan on July 6th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Harutyunyan, 33, lost his last fight against Frank Martin, which should automatically disqualify him for a title shot against Shakur, but apparently not. Like Teofimo, Shakur is coming off a controversial terribly poor win over Edwin De Los Santos in his last fight in November.

So, it’s possible that Top Rank chose to give Shakur a gimme opponent to help his self-confidence so that maybe he’ll look good, and they can re-sign him. If Top Rank matched Shakur against Muratalla right now, the chances are that he’d fall apart, look bad, and his value to them would drop.

Garcia Exposes the Truth

“100%. They told us a few weeks ago if it was available if we could move up and prefer going up to 140 to challenge Teofimo. Since all the 135s are also doing the same, not choosing Raymond [Muratalla] as their next opponent, I said I’m open to do it, but it looks like Teofimo chose to fight somebody else [Steve Claggett] too,” said trainer Robert Garcia to Thaboxingvoice about WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez turning down a fight against the talented phenom Raymond Muratalla in favor of fringe contender Steve Claggett on June 29th.

“The other belts are vacant, so we can’t talk about those guys [at lightweight] because we don’t know who is going to win, obviously. Loma will more likely win [against George Kambosos Jr. for the vacant IBF 135-lb title], and [Emanuel] Navarrete will likely win [against Denis Berinchyk for the vacant WBO belt on May 18th], but we have to wait to see who wins.

“Shakur, we did the same thing with Shakur, and he chose to fight some guy [Artem Harutyunyan] that lost his last fight [against Frank Martin],” said Robert Garcia.

Muratalla (20-0, 16 KOs) put on a masterclass recently, defeating Xolisani Ndongeni by a one-sided ten-round unanimous decision on March 29th.