By: Hans Themistode
What were you doing at 22 years old?
Most likely you were in school or working at some job that made you feel like your life was in purgatory as you tried to figure things out.
For Shakur Stevenson, at the age of 22 he just won his first world title when he easily outpointed Joet Gonzalez this past Saturday night.
The talent of the former Olympic silver medalist has always been apparent, but now, he has put everything together.
Comparisons in boxing, or any sport for that matter, is a common occurrence. Both the fans and media alike aren’t content with just watching an outstanding athlete dominate. They must place a comparison on them.
Kobe Bryant was always compared to Michael Jordan. Lebron James has continued to hear about the Magic Johnson comparisons. Tom Brady and Joe Montana are seemingly joined at the hip as well.
Comparisons aren’t a bad thing. To the contrary, it can lead to a ton of pressure. Well, that is only if the person allows it. Comparing one former great player to a current one is one of the biggest forms of flattery that can be shown.
Shakur Stevenson is a newly minted world champion in just his 13th professional fight. It really doesn’t make any sense just how phenomenal he is at such a young age. The way in which he dominated Joet Gonzalez, who is by all means a solid fighter in his own right, was downright impressive.
One person who has been around longer than seemingly everyone is Stevenson’s manager, Bob Arum. The one of kind promoter has seen his fair share of great fighters. Comparing them to their past counterparts is something that Arum has done on countless occasions. It comes as no surprise to see Arum compare his young star to another fighter he once had under his stable. Yet, the one he was referring to, did raise a few eyebrows.
“I thought it was a really magnificent performance,” said Arum. “In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a left-handed Floyd Mayweather.”
That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? To juxtapose Stevenson and Mayweather this early in his career says a lot about the talent of Stevenson already. Let’s not forget that Mayweather did win multiple titles in five different weight classes to go along with ending his career with a perfect record through 50 fights. If Stevenson can even come close to that than he is destined for the hall of fame.
Arum wasn’t the only notable name who was impressed with Stevenson. Multiple division champion and current pound for pound stalwart Terence Crawford emphasized the growth he has seen in Stevenson from when he first started to where he is now.
“He’s grew tremendously,” Crawford said. “He’s getting stronger. He’s getting wiser. He’s getting more sharper. He’s getting more comfortable in the ring. When I first sparred Shakur, he was just a little kid. You know? And now, we sparring, he’s learning so much in the ring by just sparring me, you know, he’s trying things on me that I do on him on me now. And I look at it and I say, ‘OK, well, he’s not just sparring me now. He’s picking up little bits and pieces of things that I do inside the ring.”
From the moment Stevenson came onto the scene there was no doubting his greatness, but he has made his mark far quicker than anyone could have imagined. If he continues his rapid rise to the top he might, again might, live up to the lofty expectations placed upon him.