By: Sean Crose
He’s considered one of the best fighters in the world. Fast, hard hitting, exceedingly confident in the ring, Shakur Stevenson has that certain something, hard to define but easy to see, that has marked him for possible greatness. Now the WBC has, as of Wednesday, ordered him to face off against Isaac Cruz in a world title eliminator. That means the winner will go on to face the defending WBC lightweight champion. At the moment that opponent would be undisputed lightweight champ Devin Haney, though Haney is reportedly lined up to fight Vasyl Lomachenko.
The reasoning here goes that the winner of Haney-Lomachenko will take on the winner of Stevenson-Cruz, provided no one leaves the division during that time. The 19-0 Stevenson’s last fight was a UD win over Robson Conceicao in September. The 24-2-1 Cruz last saw action that same month when he knocked out Eduardo Ramirez in 2.
The problem with the WBC’s ruling on Wednesday is that Stevenson and Cruz fight under different banners. Stevenson is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions. Cruz, on the other hand is a member of Al Haymon’s Premiere Boxing Champions. Suffice to say, both organizations are not known to have the warmest of relationships. Fans need only look back to the endless leadup to the 2015 Floyd Mayweather-Many Pacquiao fight to grasp how icy the situation can be. With that in mind, it’s arguable Stevenson and Cruz may not be seeing each other in the ring any time soon.
The truth is that the lightweight division now is hot to the point of scalding. If only the major matches available could get made. While it’s true Haney- Lomachenko will most likely become a reality, the same can’t be said for a much anticipated battle between Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia at this point. Couple that with the very real possibility that Stevenson and Cruz may not throw down and a snapshot of the contemporary boxing scene becomes very clear and ugly. High end fighters are out there. High end fights can be made. Is feels like more often than not, however, that they won’t be.
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