Like him or not, Shakur Stevenson is probably going to clean house in a number of weight classes. Starting with Jr. Lightweight.
Some people say Shakur Stevenson is a wanna-be Floyd Mayweather. There have been numerous comparisons already, mostly due to both fighter’s defensive style and ability to hit and not get hit. Which is the point of boxing in a nut-shell, although many boxing fans will hold it against you if you don’t get hit enough. Floyd Mayweather fell victim to that line of thinking for years. Whether he (Stevenson) will reach Floyd’s level is yet to be seen. One thing that is for sure, the kid (he’s 24 now, so not really a kid anymore) is going to be a force to be reckon with, from 130 – 147.
Going into Saturday’s bout against Jemel Herring, Stevenson was seen as a heavy favorite. He was the younger fighter, obviously the more skilled fighter and to me the thing that sets him apart from a lot of his peers (and even more senior fighters) is his all so subtle mean streak. Stevenson has used the term “beat him up” in a number of interviews. Which I like. I like the fact that the guy is a highly skilled fighter…some may say defense first, but still has that nastiness in him to the point where he really wants to go in there and “beat up” his opponent. Saturday, he did just that.
Herring was never really in the fight. Stevenson showed his dominance early and didn’t lose many rounds, if any at all. It was a fight that had to happen, but it was a fight where the end result was always going to be the same.
So what’s next for Shakrur Stevenson? Well, in my opinion the Oscar Valdez fight is the next fight to make. Valdez is a good fighter, but I don’t see him beating Stevenson. For one, Oscar Valdez gets hit. He gets hit fairly easily too. Which is not good when you are fighting an efficient, accurate fighter. I think Stevenson will be able to land from round one util the last bell. I think it will be a fairly easy win for Stevenson, although I think Oscar Valdez presents more problems for him (Stevenson) than Jamel Herring ever did. Oscar has punching power and loads up throughout the fight. Many times you can see the punches coming. The issue for him is, can he land enough power punches to actually do damage, because he most certainly cannot out-box Stevenson, even on his best day. So basically, Oscar Valdez has to have it in his mind that he’s going to sell-out and try and stop Shakur. He won’t beat him on the cards. All in all, I think it’s a fantastic fight, but it’s Stevenson’s fight to lose.
I really don’t think there is anyone in the Junior Lightweight division that has a shot at beating Shakur Stevenson. I think that test will comes once he moves up to 135, where the likes of Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney and Gervonta Davis reside. That is where his test will be. And I for one can’t wait until he makes that move. The division is already ripe for big fights and seeing that the current king of the division, Teofimo Lopez, is not one to duck a big name, those fights should be able to be made. Then there’s still Richard Commey, Ryan Garcia and Joseph Diaz Jr. of whom Stevenson can fight to get his feet wet in the heavier weight-class. Stevenson versus any of those guys would be fantastic to watch and any of those fighters would be more formidable than any opponent at Jr. Lightweight.
One things for sure, the Lightweight division is going to be a weight-class to keep an eye on for the foreseeable future. There is a lot of talent there and possibly the best young talent in the sport is poised to join them, sooner rather than later.