By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson is walking a mighty lonely road at the moment.
Under normal circumstances, Stevenson is known as a crowd favorite. The former Olympic silver medalist has sublime boxing skills, continues to call out the best fighters in the world and more times than not, gives fans their money’s worth in the ring.
However, with Stevenson taking on a more aggressive persona for his showdown against Jamel Herring this Saturday night at State Farm Arena in Atlanta Georgia, Stevenson believes he’s turned into the villain. Although Stevenson is convinced that the boxing world wants him to fail, he flashes a bright grin before explaining how little he actually cares.
“I just be reading comments and seeing stuff,” said Stevenson during an interview with Seconds Out. “So I just think that a lot of people want to see me lose but they aren’t going to get what they want at the end of the day.”
Stevenson’s overwhelming self-confidence stems from how every single one of his contests has gone so far. Despite facing the likes of Joet Gonzalez and Christopher Diaz, to name a few, Stevenson pitched near shutouts.
No matter who Stevenson has taken on, the 24-year-old has shown respect and refused to engage in trash talk, more or less. In the case of his showdown against Herring, Stevenson has pulled a complete 180. During their recent face-off, Stevenson audaciously grabbed the WBO super featherweight title of Herring while jawing back and forth with the former Marine. That in turn, saw the pair get separated by onlooking security.
While Stevenson fully understands that he isn’t making any new fans with the way he’s conducting himself, in the end, he couldn’t care less.
“I think because Jamel is going to play the super nice guy and the good guy and I talk a little bit more than him. They want him to win because I guess he’s showing that he’s humble and a marine but at the end of the day, that ain’t got nothing to do with the fight.”
Regardless of Stevenson’s new attitude, the betting market is still in love with him. According to oddsmakers, Stevenson has been listed as high as a 10-1 favorite. The underdog status of Herring is something that the 130-pound belt holder has grown accustomed to.
In his most recent trip to the ring, Herring made the betting public appear foolish as he thoroughly dominated former two-division world champion, Carl Frampton. Herring would go on to score multiple knockdowns before stopping his man in the sixth round.
The win for Herring may have represented a career-best performance but Stevenson rolls his eyes at his recent accomplishment. Although he’ll saunter to the ring this Saturday night with the boxing world seemingly against him, Stevenson won’t give his naysayers anything to smile about.
“I worked hard this camp. I’m in great shape, I’m confident, I’m sharp. They can keep on wishing and praying but it ain’t gonna happen.”
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