Freddie Roach Sizes Up Shakur Stevenson
By: Hans Themistode
Hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach understands what it means to be involved in a big fight. Come Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Freddie Roach trained fighter, Christopher Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) will have a stiff test ahead of him. Diaz will take on highly touted and currently undefeated olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs). It’s a contest that came as a bit of a surprise to the public. With just ten under his belt many feel as though Stevenson’s fight against Diaz is coming much too soon in his career. Count Roach as one of those that feels Stevenson might be biting off a bit more than he can chew.
“He’s a good fighter but he’s still pretty young. Only time will tell if this fight is a bit too early for him but I think so.”
Diaz has just one lone blemish on his record, a 2018 loss against Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBO Super Featherweight title. It was a fight that saw Diaz perform extremely well but he ultimately came up short.
Seldom do you see a young prospect take on such a tough challenge so early in their career. Roach believes in the young prospect from Newark, but how exactly does he feel he stacks up in comparison to young fighters such as Devin Haney and Teofimo Lopez?
“I wouldn’t put him in that category but he is 10-0 so he is doing really well, but no I don’t place him in that same category as those other guys.”
The question begs to be asked. Was Roach serious, or is this just a bit of gamesmanship? Stevenson will have the opportunity to prove Roach wrong come fight night. During Stevenson’s portion of his media day workout, he was asked why he wanted this tough assignment.
“I’m just trying to be great.”
If Stevenson wants to be great then he will have his shot on Saturday night. Diaz is the sort of test that will tell us all whether or not Stevenson has what it takes to be the future star that many have pegged him to be.