By: Hans Themistode
The fast track is a route that many new fighters are taking. Gone are the days of slowly building a fighter into a championship contender. Nowadays everyone feels as though they are ready for the big leagues.
WBA Featherweight champion Gervonta Davis won his first world title at the age of 21. Former WBC Super Middleweight champion David Benavidez captured gold at the age of 20. Although many of these young fighters are finding success, it doesn’t mean that they should be pushed in that direction.
Some fighters, including the aforementioned Gervonta Davis, David Benavidez and pour-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko elected to move their careers faster then normal. It may have been criticized at first, but those critics have proven to be wrong. The norm however is for a fighter to have to wait his turn before getting his shot at a title. All-time great Carl Froch was 31 years old before he became a world champion. The recently retired Ishe Smith was 34 before he could officially call himself a world champion as well.
What Davis and Benavidez have done is an outlier not the norm.
Another fighter who seems to be following the new trend of spectacular young fighters looking for a shot in the bright lights sooner rather than later is Shakur Stevenson.
Stevenson has star power. Tons of it.
Ask anyone involved in the sport of boxing and they will tell you that Stevenson will be the Floyd Mayweather of his generation. He’s that good.
Everyone remembers Stevenson’s captivating run during the 2016 olympics. He brung America exactly where it belongs. Back in the forefront.
During the 2016 Olympic Games, Stevenson was the talk of the town. Every time he stepped into the ring, he won. It came as no surprise to see Stevenson in the finals with a chance at gold hanging in the balance. He would however come up short in his bid to become the first American boxer since his idol, Andre Ward in the 2004 Athens games.
The loss for Stevenson did nothing to dampen his star. If anything, it enhanced it.
With nothing left to prove for Stevenson he turned pro. It’s only been two years since he has made that decision but he has shown exactly why it was a good one. Because of his willingness to face stiff competition at such an early point in his career, Stevenson has been rewarded with a number one ranking in the WBO sanctioning body. He now is on a collision course with the number two ranked fighter Joet Gonzalez, for the vacant title later on this year.
Everything seems to be moving fast. Just three short years ago Stevenson was fighting for a gold medal. Fast forward to 2019 and he will now be fighting for gold once again, only this time, of another variety.
Some fighters need time, preparation and patience before they are simply thrown into the lions den. For Shakur Stevenson, this is not a step to a bridge too far for him to cross.
He’s a special fighter.
Many thought Stevenson would be the future of boxing. He has other plans. Stevenson wants his future to start right now.