Shakur Stevenson Wants His Mandated Title Shot Against Jamel Herring: “I Can’t Turn Down No Title Shot”
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has never been afraid to step into the ring with anyone. But in the case of WBO lightweight titlist Jamel Herring, Stevenson has been reluctant.
Over the years, both fighters have grown to respect and admire each other. They’ve aided one another in terms of fight preparations and share the same inner circle. With Stevenson recently vacating his WBO 126 pound title to make the lightweight division his new home, he was thrust into the number one ranking for the Herring’s world title. But just a few months ago, Stevenson didn’t sound like a man who was willing to take his mandated title shot.
“The thing with that is I will fight Jamel if I have no other choice but to fight him,” said Stevenson to BoxingScene.com not long ago. “We work with the same people. Bo-Mac, Red, they help me out a lot, also. So, I’m not gonna get on record and call out Jamel Herring because me and him are real tight. Like, we all are locked in with the same people.”
At 130 pounds, Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) could be matched up with several notable names, but none of them would bring him an immediate world title. The New Jersey native is currently ranked number one in the WBO, number two in the WBC and isn’t ranked in the top ten in the WBA and IBF.
So while he cherishes his friendship with Herring, he cherishes the word champion next to his name a little bit more.
“I’m still cool with Jamel and Bo-Mac and everybody in his camp and everything. Ain’t no hard feelings or nothing, but it’s business,” said Stevenson during a recent interview with Boxingscene.com. “At the end of the day, me and him, we’ve gotta fight each other. It’s the fight business. It’s all business at the end of the day.”
Business is exactly what Herring is thinking of at the moment as well. After winning by sloppy disqualification during his last ring outing against Jonathan Oquendo earlier this year, Herring is lining up the biggest and most lucrative contest of his career against former two division titlist Carl Frampton.
Even though Stevenson knows how much Herring has been looking forward to that showdown, he isn’t going to sit back and allow it to happen.
“The WBO is ordering him to make his mandatory, and I’m his mandatory. I can’t turn down no title shot. It’s an opportunity to become a two-weight division world champ,” Stevenson said. “In only 15 fights, I don’t know who else has done that, especially at my age. So, I think it’s an amazing opportunity and I’m just ready to take advantage of it.”
In terms of how things would play out in a possible matchup between the two, Stevenson didn’t sound worried about their shared workout history. Just like every other contest in his short career, the former Olympic Silver medalist believes it’ll be just another walk in the park.
“I think it would be just like any other fight,” Stevenson said. “ I think that there’s levels. My level is higher than anybody in the 130-pound weight class. I’m just on a whole different level.”
Shakur Stevenson: “I just Feel Like I’m The Best Of The Next Generation”
By: Hans Themistode
Following each and every spectacular performance by one of the newer names in the sport of boxing, the coronation horns begin to blow. Whether it’s Devin Haney out boxing his opponents until he brutally knocks them out or Gervonta Davis wasting no time as he quickly sends his opponents off on a stretcher, thoughts of who will become the future of boxing quickly becomes the topic of conversation’s.
While the arguments ensue, somewhere in the New Jersey area, a heavy bag is being pummeled as a silver medal next to a gold world title belt sits as the only spectators.
Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) always finds questions such as who will become the face of boxing pointless as the answer is as obvious.
“I just feel like I’m the best of the next generation,” said Stevenson to Fight Hype. “I feel like I’m going to take over soon. Right now I just feel like I’m ahead of everybody.”
For as much as Stevenson wants to separate himself for his young contemporaries, the comparisons have persisted. But while he doesn’t throw shade at any of their skillsets, he does see plenty of holes in their games. A problem the 22 year old doesn’t believe he has.
“If you look at all of these young fighters, there’s something that they can’t do. You can point out some stuff that they can’t do. I feel like you can’t point out anything in my game that I can’t do. I’m not a one dimensional big power puncher. I can box, I can bang and I just win. I go in there and win.”
Win and dominate while doing so is something that Stevenson has done his entire life. Most observers have agreed that he is in fact a future star, but calling him a mere “star” just wasn’t good enough for promoter Bob Arum.
“I look at him as the southpaw version of Floyd Mayweather,” said Arum during an interview several months ago. ”I think he will exceed the performances by Floyd. He’s a rare, rare talent.”
Comparing Stevenson to the consensus best boxer of his generation is the greatest compliment Arum could bestow upon anyone. But for the former 126 pound belt holder, calling him a pure boxer is still selling him short.
“I just feel like I can do it all. If you watched my last fight I threw a lot of punches and stood in the pocket. I banged a little bit but if you want to sit on the inside all day then I can fight. That’s what people don’t understand about me, I can fight and I can do it all. Me at my best, I feel like I’m better than everybody.”
Oscar Valdez on Facing Miguel Berchelt Over Shakur Stevenson: “He is a Way Tougher Fight Than Shakur Stevenson”
By: Hans Themistode
Oscar Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) has never been known for dodging the competition, or folding when the going gets tough. In a 2018 matchup against Scott Quigg, Valdez broke his jaw early in the contest but managed to push through and hold on to his WBO featherweight world title.
That performance, coupled with his action packed fighting style, made him a fan favorite. So it came as a surprise once Valdez began to hear the word “duck” associated with his name.
In 2019, the former WBO belt holder was staring at a mega showdown with the highly touted Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs). Instead of taking on his mandatory in Stevenson however, Valdez opted to move up in weight. Now, he finds himself in line to face current WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs).
Although Valdez has always kept his head down and tuned out the noise, he admitted that this time around, it annoyed him.
“I was a little bothered,” said Valdez in an interview with Fight Hub. “People were thinking that I moved up a division because I was ducking Shakur Stevenson. I’m trying to face Miguel Berchelt.”
While Valdez moved up and made himself feel at home at 130 pounds, Stevenson began decorating his new residence at 126. The former Olympic silver medalist took home the newly vacated featherweight title and began to make his presence known. However, after a short reign, Stevenson has decided to move up to 130 pounds. He immediately placed his eyes on Valdez. The former WBO belt holder is receptive to the idea, but he believes a win over Berchelt will be a bigger feather in his cap.
“I personally think he is a way tougher fight than Shakur Stevenson,” explained Valdez. “He’s a harder puncher, he’s a natural 130 pounder and he’s knocking all of these guys out. If I was scared to fight somebody then you would think it would be Miguel Berchelt. I’m not scared to fight any fighter, especially Shakur Stevenson. He’s a great fighter, very technical fighter. Olympic Silver medalist, so there’s nothing bad I can say about him.”
At the moment, Valdez already has his future mapped out. If things go how he believes they will, then a showdown with Stevenson is something that he isn’t running from.
“Right now I have Jayson Velez next. If everything happens the way I want it, which is win against Velez, then I fight for the title and win, then if he’s right there and I’m pretty sure he is going to be mandatory, then I have no problem fighting Shakur. I truly have no problem fighting anybody.”
What’s Next For Shakur Stevenson?
By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson told the press exactly what was going to happen in his matchup against Felix Caraballo. “I see a lot of holes in his game,” said Stevenson during a media call before his fight. “I’m going to expose him.”
Stevenson did just that.
Forget about the phrase “throwing the kitchen sink,” Stevenson threw every piece of furniture that he has at Caraballo. And it worked. Stopping his man in the sixth round due to a body shot.
Before Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) even stepped into the ring, a win was a formality. So now that he’s kept the COVID-19 inducing ring rust off, where does he go next? Keep reading to find out.
For most of Josh Warrington’s (30-0, 7 KOs) career, it was his gritty style and never quit attitude that made him a fan favorite. He wasn’t the most talented fighter around, but he always found a way to win. Those sort of fighters always make for a good story, but seldom do they develop into one of the best fighters in the world.
In the case of Warrington though, that is exactly what happened. His majority decision victory over Kiko Martinez in 2017 turned a few heads. But it was his wins over Lee Selby and Carl Frampton one year later, that made everyone take notice at what they were looking at. He is a bonafide great fighter and has the sort of will power that won’t allow him to quit.
The argument could be made that he is the best fighter in the Featherweight division. However, whenever the words “best fighter” is used and Shakur Stevenson’s name isn’t brought up, he’s going to take umbrage to it.
The two have been in discussion to take each other’s 0 since early last year. Before Stevenson’s one sided beatdown of Caraballo, promoter Bob Arum mentioned that he will absolutely attempt to make their unification contest a reality.
Gary Russell Jr
For as great as WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russel Jr. is, he has a tendency of staying out of the ring for long stretches. Reason being is no one wants to fight him. At least according to Russell (31-1, 18 KOs). For the past 6 years, Russell has competed inside of the ring just one time on average. It isn’t much, but when he does show up, he always leaves a lasting impression.
The WBC belt holder hasn’t exactly heard his name mentioned by any of the other big name fighters. Call it a lack of interest, or a fear of losing, the point remains the same. Not many fighters are itching to face Russell. But Shakur Stevenson isn’t like many fighters.
“That would be a hell of fight, me and Gary,” said Stevenson before his fight with Caraballo. “I really believe we are the two most skillful fighters in the division. That would be a hell of a fight.”
If boxing fans had their way, then this would be the matchup that happens next.
ESPN Boxing Results: Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo Full Card Results
Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo
Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs) did not disappoint those who tuned in to watch his fight against Felix Caraballo (13-2-2, 9 KOs). Stevenson started off hot with a quick knockdown in the first down courtesy of a body shot.
The beating only worsened as the contest continued. Half way through the sixth round, after taking a ridiculous amount of punishment, Caraballo was dropped for the final time in the sixth round thanks to a body shot once again.
Referee Tony Weeks called an end to the contest and awarded Stevenson with the win. Not only did Stevenson win, but with boxing officially back, the sport won as well.
Jared Anderson vs Johnnie Langston
Jared Anderson (4-0, 4 KOs) looked sharp tonight against journeyman Johnnie Langston (8-3, 3 KOs). Seemingly everything that Anderson threw not only landed, but also hurt his man.
The first two rounds were all Anderson. The third and final round was an even better display. It was as if he Anderson was tired of being in the ring tonight and simply wanted to close the show. He did exactly that as he pummeled Langston in the corner until the referee called off the match.
Guido Vianello vs Don Haynesworth
It was a quick night Guido Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs) as he destroyed Don Haynesworth (16-4-1, 14 KOs) in the very first round.
It was an over hand right that did all of the damage for Vianello, as Haynesworth went crashing down to the canvas. Before he could fully make it back to his feet the referee stepped in and stopped the contest.
Quatavious Cash vs Calvin Metcalf
It was a hard day at the office for Quatavious Cash (12-2, 7 KOs) as he took home a technical decision over Calvin Metcalf (10-4-1, 3 KOs). The scorecards were wide in the favor of Cash as the judges scored the bout 60-54, 60-55 and 59-55 but Metcalf pushed the pace all night long.
An early head butt opened up a nasty cut for Metcalf who kept pushing forward no matter how much blood streamed down his face. In the sixth and final round, the ring doctor called an end to the contest and the judges scorecards were called into play. It was an easy call for Cash as he was a unanimous decision.
Robeisy Ramirez vs Yeuri Andujar
Robeisy Ramirez (3-1, 3 KOs) continued to prove that the loss he suffered in his pro debut was nothing more than a fluke.
It took Ramirez just a few seconds into the first round before he floored his opponent Yeuri Andujar (5-4, 3 KOs). He staggered back to his feet but soon tasted the canvas yet again. Referee Tony Weeks called a halt to the contest shortly after. It took Ramirez only 54 seconds to get the job done in boxing’s return to action.
Shakur Stevenson on Oscar Valdez: “He Knows I Would Beat Him Easily”
By: Hans Themistode
Looking ahead is never a good thing in boxing. Especially when you have an opponent standing right in front of you. Later on tonight, Shakur Stevenson will see what it feels like to fight in another weight class. The WBO Featherweight titlist is dipping his toe in the Super Featherweight division in his contest against Felix Caraballo.
According to oddsmakers, Stevenson is expected to win handily as he’s been tabbed as high as a 75-1 favorite. Meaning, in order to win $100 on Stevenson, you would have to wager a mere $7,500. In short, this is Stevenson’s fight to lose.
If the WBO belt holder does what most expect him to do, which it is dominate, then a showdown with Oscar Valdez could be in his not so distant future. Stevenson fought his way to the mandatory position to Valdez and his WBO strap. Instead of taking on Stevenson, Valdez dropped the belt and headed over to the Super Featherweight division. Stevenson didn’t sweat his decision though, winning the vacant title against Joet Gonzalez shortly after.
The two may not have been able to step into the ring against one another at 126 pounds, but now that they both currently reside at 130, Stevenson has an eye on him.
“I think Valdez is another one who knows my style isn’t for him,” Stevenson told BoxingScene.com. “I think he knows me and him don’t mix. He knows I would beat him easily. I think he knows that, but he just said in an interview that he wasn’t ducking me. He said everyone thinks that’s what it is, but he’s not ducking me. He’s going for Berchelt first and stuff like that. So, we’ll see when the time comes.”
Before Stevenson jumps to the head of the Oscar Valdez line, Miguel Berchelt will get the first crack at him. The two were on course to face off in May of this year for Berchelt’s WBC title. Of course, like every other boxing event over the past three months though, COVID-19 had other plans.
Now that the business of boxing is picking back up, they are now back on track for a showdown this year. A date is not definitively set in stone, but promoter Bob Arum has recently revealed to Boxingscene.com that the two will clash later on this year.
Both Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) and Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) give a whole new meaning to the term “throwing leather.” Throughout the course of their careers, they’ve shown that they can give just as much as they can take. Which makes picking a winner that much more difficult for Stevenson.
“I think that Berchelt will win because he’s bigger and stronger than Valdez,” Stevenson said. “But Valdez might surprise people. It really depends with them two who lands the best punch, because they both will be throwing bombs. I don’t know that Berchelt’s defense is that good, and Valdez throws a lot of power punches. I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”
Shakur Stevenson Will Be Without Head Trainer Kay Koroma Due to COVID-19 Safety Measures
By: Hans Themistode
WBO Featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson will not only step into the ring tonight without the support of his fans, but also without the guidance of his head trainer Kay Koroma.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) banned Koroma from working Stevenson’s corner due to his role as the assistant coach to Mikaela Mayer. According to the NSAC, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 can and will be removed from the event.
Mayer, an undefeated Featherweight prospect who was due to take on Helen Joseph in the co main event, recently tested positive for the virus and was forced off the card. Koroma tested negative for the virus this past Saturday, but he did have direct contact with Mayer throughout her training camp.
That direct contact has given the NSAC no other choice but to remove him from Stevenson’s corner entirely.
“Typically, when a person in any camp tests positive, the contact tracing takes place,” Bob Bennett, the NSAC’s executive director, told ESPN.com. “And if it’s revealed that the person tested positive from contact tracing was in contact with that person, then obviously they could be asymptomatic, and they would be removed from the event as well.”
Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) was disappointed to say the least. But, a worldwide pandemic, nor his opponent Felix Caraballo or even Koroma not working his corner will stop him from putting on a show.
“I’m disappointed that he won’t be able to be in my corner. But I am fully focused and locked in on tomorrow night,” said Stevenson. I will put on another great show on ESPN.”
Taking over for Koroma will be Edward Jackson. While Stevenson would rather have Koroma handling his every move inside of the ring, he will have a familiar face in his Grandfather, Wali Moses, helping him every step of the way.
Following the event, Stevenson, along with every other participant on the night will test for the virus shortly after.
Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo: Fight Preview
WBO Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson was disappointed when he was told the news of the cancelation of his March 14th, contest against Miguel Marriaga. He became the first notable fighter that was forced to take a standing eight count due to COVID-19. Now, nearly three months later, he’s set to become the first noteworthy fighter to make their return to the ring.
Stevenson’s dance partner on the night is the unheralded Felix Caraballo. On paper, Stevenson would appear to have the edge in virtually every category. He’s fought the better opposition, shown the better boxing skills throughout his career and is touted as quite possibly a better fighter than the 50-0, Floyd Mayweather. At least according to promoter Bob Arum.
Caraballo will not only have to deal with the physical disadvantages, but also an unfamiliar setting. For the six year veteran, this will be his first fight outside of his native land of Puerto Rico as this contest is set to take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To make matters worse if Caraballo is able to pull off the massive upset, the win won’t award him with the WBO Featherweight title as this contest is set to take place at 130 pounds.
By all accounts, Stevenson will have the spotlight primarily shining upon him on the night. But in the case of Caraballo, without fans in attendance, the pressure will be taken off his shoulders without the rabid fanbase of Stevenson’s in the crowd.
Even with the star power that Stevenson has shown in the early part of his career, the co main event on the night was set to steal the show. Featherweight prospect Mikaela Mayer and the always durable contender Helen Joseph were set to take things to another level on the night. Unfortunately for Mayer however, she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and has been forced off the card entirely.
Still, even with some of the appeal stripped away from the event due to Mayer’s positive test, Stevenson will have the opportunity to have the entire sport of boxing fixated on his event tomorrow night. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo Weigh-in Results
By: Hans Themistode
Things felt a bit different during the weigh-ins for Shakur Stevenson’s contest against Felix Caraballo. There were no screaming fans in attendance, nor were there several media members ready to bombard the fighters with nonstop questions. No, it was simply Stevenson, his opponent and a few select personnel at today’s weigh-ins.
Caraballo (13-1-2, 9 KOs) was the first to step on to the scale. He walked onto the stage wearing a mask and protective covering for his sneakers as to not make full contact with the scale. The contracted weight between them was 130 pounds, although Stevenson holds the WBO title at 126 pounds. Even with the extra four pounds though, Caraballo still managed to miss weight, coming in at 130.5. He attempted to step back onto the scale a second time but there was no change in weight.
As for Stevenson, he had a few issues with weight of his own. At least initially. Bob Bennet, of the Nevada State Athletic Commission yelled out 130.2 pounds, a number that Stevenson was incredulous to. He immediately stripped off his socks and jumped back onto the scale. This time, he came in at 130 pounds even.
From there, fighters normally pose next to one another for pictures, before facing off. This time around however, things were a bit different. Both fighters flashed their physique and smiled, but they made sure to keep their distance.
The customary face off’s in which fighters are given the opportunity to either intimidate or size up their opponents one final time before fight night was nonexistent. Instead, they simply walked in opposite directions of one another as if to say they are fully prepared for their contest.
As for the rest of the card, the results of their weigh-ins were as followed.
Jared Anderson 236. 5 pounds (3-0, 3 KOs) vs Johnnie Langston 218 pounds (8-2, 3 KOs)
Guido Vianello 239 pounds (6-0, 6 KOs) vs Don Haynesworth 294.5 pounds (16-3-1, 14 KOs)
Robeisy Ramirez 126 pounds (2-1, 2 KOs) vs Year Andujar 125.5 pounds (5-3, 3 KOs)
Calvin Metcalf 158.3 pounds (10-3-1 3 KOs) Quatavious Cash 160.5 pounds (11-2, 7 KOs)
Shakur Stevenson: “I Will Be Better Than What Floyd Was”
By: Hans Themistode
World titles in five divisions, victories over at least 20 former champions, a perfect record through 50 career fights and a whole lot of cash. In its most simplistic form, that would define the legacy of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Words such as iconic, legendary and celebrated seem to undervalue arguably the greatest fighter that has ever laced up a pair of gloves.
Receiving a comparison to Mayweather is almost akin to a death wish. The pressure becomes too immense and the expectations become extraordinarily too high. But in the case of WBO Featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson, they aren’t high enough.
“Shakur Stevenson is the future star in the sport of boxing,” said Arum on a recent conference call. “A future super star. I look at him as the southpaw version of Floyd Mayweather. And I think he will exceed the performances by Floyd. I just think that he is a rare, rare talent. The young man is growing in size. I think 130 pounds will be a brief stop in his career. He is growing into a Welterweight and maybe even a Jr Middleweight.”
Stevenson will get the chance to show off the Mayweather-esque skills that Arum is alluding to on June 9th against Felix Caraballo at 130 pounds. It will be the first live boxing show for the mainstream public to consume since COVID-19 reared its ugly head.
Through 13 career fights, Stevenson has made it look easy against decent opposition. But should he leave the ring on June 9th with the win against an opponent who will be fighting for the first time outside of his home country in Puerto Rico, Arum is expecting to revisit a matchup with fellow champion Josh Warrington.
If Stevenson manages to navigate himself to a win over Warrington, the Mayweather comparisons will come two fold. Something that the WBO belt holder doesn’t exactly have a problem with. He is just quick to remind those that do juxtapose him to Mayweather, for as great as he was, he is only the tip of the iceberg.
“It makes me feel good, being compared to Floyd. He’s like somebody I came up looking after a lot as a kid and as an amateur,” Stevenson said in a media conference call. “I looked up [to him] as one of my favorite fighters. So, it makes me feel good. But at the end of the day, I’m still me, so I’ve gotta create my own path and my own destiny. So, I appreciate all the comparisons. But I’m really the first Shakur Stevenson. And I think that I’m gonna take over and surpass Floyd and be better than what Floyd was. And I’m trying to make as much money as or [even] more money as Floyd did. So, my vision is like I’m looking past that stuff.”
The Nevada State Athletic Commission Clears The Way For Boxing to Return Next Month in Las Vegas
By: Hans Themistode
Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns gave boxing fans three rounds of unforgettable violent fun. Other all-time great fighters such as Roberto Duran and Ray Leonard gave us consecutive contests that resulted in back and forth action. While both matchups left fans on the edge of their seats, they came well over 35 years ago. And although they both rank as some of most memorable matches ever, they’ve been out of the vault for far too long.
For months on end, boxing fans have been forced to watch classic matchups due to COVID-19. But now, it appears that those aforementioned contests can be put back in the vault.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has approved for live boxing to return next month with two shows already on tap for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Boxing is back,” said media relations director of Top Rank, Evan Korn on his Twitter account. “Nevada Commission approves Top Rank dates for June 9 & 11th Las Vegas.”
From the moment COVID-19 grew from a blimp on the radar to a full blown worldwide pandemic, the boxing schedule had the sort of matchups that boxing fans were begging for. From WBO Super Featherweight champion Jamel Herring taking on former titlist Carl Frampton, to Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 3, fans had plenty to look forward too. But much like Wilders quick first round knockout of Dominic Breazeale in early 2019, COVID-19 changed everything in the blink of an eye.
Now however, nearly three months from the last live boxing match in the United States, normalcy seems to be on its way.
“I’ve been working with the executives from Top Rank,” Bob Bennett, the NSAC’s executive director, said during a meeting. “I’ve reviewed their operations plan. They’re still in the process of completing it. It’s very comprehensive. We’re moving in the right direction. I’m pleased to see that we are all working in concert with a closed-system event. I expect it to be very successful.”
First up on the June 9th card will be WBO Featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson as he’ll be looking to turn back Felix Caraballo in a ten round non title Super Featherweight contest. Two days later on June 11th, former Super Bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno and Yenifel Vicente will be going head to head in a catchweight bout contested at 128 pounds.
It isn’t exactly the high profile fights that fans were looking forward to. However, boxing has to start somewhere.
Bob Arum Looking to Put Future Fights in Studio Settings in Vegas Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
By: Hans Themistode
Much like every other sport, boxing has come to a complete stop due to the Coronavirus. But promoter Bob Arum is trying to play his part to get it going once again.
When news broke of the Coronavirus or otherwise known as Covid-19, putting an end to roughly every sport around the world, fans could hardly believe it. Arum, like many other promoters, was forced to put several of his shows on ice.
WBO Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson and Featherweight contender Michael Conlan were set to headline their own cards on the 14th and 17th of March, in Madison Square Garden, in New York City. But not anymore. With two of Arums shows already sidelined, the 88 year old promoter is looking into unique ways to salvage the few remaining cards he already has booked on the boxing schedule.
“We’re gonna try to set up a studio atmosphere in Vegas, so we can do fights maybe,” Arum said during Friday’s episode of “The Ak & Barak Show” on SiriusXM. “You know, ESPN, unfortunately for them, doesn’t have content. They don’t have the NBA, they don’t have college basketball, they don’t have the women’s tournament. So, they’re gonna need content. And we can provide content. We’ve talked to the athletic commission here [in Nevada], doing fights in a studio. But we’ve got to get the testing done. We’ve gotta get enough tests here, so that we can test the fighters before the fights, so we can show that they do not have the virus. Or, if they have the virus, they can’t fight. I mean, that’s what we’re working on.”
The first of Arums shows that would be heading towards a studio like setting would be his March 28th, event which was set to take place at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada. Headlining that card would be unified Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) and IBF mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs).
Next up of the Top Rank schedule is an April 25th, showdown between pound for pound star and unified Bantamweight champ Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) and WBO title holder John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20 KOs). One week later, unified Lightweight champ Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) was set to make his Top Rank debut against Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs).
With both events most likely to be postponed, Arum is hoping he can still put on shows while this pandemic is currently being sorted out.
Most recently, the UFC kept their event alive by banning fans from entering the arena. Boxing could be following in those same footsteps. It may not be ideal or fun for the fighters involved but at this point, it’s better than nothing.
Shakur Stevenson Gives Boxing Insider Radio His Thoughts on His First Title Defense and Star Filled Future
With Shakur Stevenson preparing himself for the first defense of his WBO Featherweight title, he took some time to stop by and give the crew at Boxing Insider Radio his thoughts on his upcoming contest against Miguel Marriaga and his future plans.
Aside from the normal cast, former undisputed Welterweight champion Zab Judah was also in the house to ask the young champ a few questions as well. To join the conversation simply subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or on Boxinginsider.com.
An Olympic Silver medal, a Featherweight world title and several wins over high ranking contenders sounds like a pretty good career doesn’t it?
Some of the greatest boxers in the world have gone their entire careers without accomplishing half as much.
Ken Norton, who is universally known to have been one of the best Heavyweights in the world in the 1970s, challenged for the world title on three separate occasions and lost every single time. Through 50 fights, he never managed to attain championship status.
Benny Briscoe spent a 95 fight career without calling himself a champion as well, despite numerous cracks at it.
Briscoe and Norton may have come up short in their championship bids, but at least they were given an opportunity. Heavyweight Sam Langford stepped into the ring 313 times over the course of 24 years. Not once did he even challenge for a world title.
Yes, you read that correctly. Through 313 career ring appearances, Langford was never given the opportunity to call himself a champion. Yet in comparison, Shakur Stevenson did so in just 13 fights.
On Saturday night March 14th, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, Stevenson places his title on the line against Miguel Marriaga. If the name sounds familiar, there’s a reason. Marriaga has fought just about everyone in the Featherweight and Super Featherweight division including Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oscar Valdez.
Not many are expecting it to be competitive. But even fewer are anticipating a Stevenson loss. Fighters have a tendency to drum up soft up touches as difficult matchups. Wanting the media and the fans to believe that a no hoper has a legitimate shot, but Stevenson isn’t trying to pull wool over anyone’s eyes here. He knows exactly what he’s dealing with.
“It’s a measuring stick sort of fight,” said Stevenson on Boxing Insider Radio. “I’m a beat dude up. I know that he’s tough since he fought Lomachenko, Oscar Valdez and Nicholas Walters so I know he’s tough but shit, tough ain’t enough.”
Stevenson isn’t exactly concerned with whatever Marriaga brings to the table. In fact, the Featherweight champ is already looking right through his opponent and on to his next fight and soon to be future.
“I’m trying to fight Josh Warrington to unify the division in England then I want to move up to 130, cause there isn’t really anybody here at 126. But when I get to 130 I’m hoping Lomachenko comes down so that I can beat up on him.”
Beating up on Lomachenko isn’t something that other fighters usually say so casually. He’s only a two time Olympic gold medalist, three division world champion, current unified Lightweight champ and oh yeah, he also managed to put together an amateur record of 396-1.
Regardless of the accolades that Lomachenko possesses that stretch around the block, there’s a reason why Stevenson wants a matchup with him sooner rather than later. The two may compete in different weight classes at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t shared the ring before. And by all accounts, Stevenson gained a ton of respect.
“I got the chance to spar with Lomachenko a few years and ago and it was good and competitive sparring. I try not to speak too much on sparring but Lomachenko respected me a lot because I was begging to go down there and spar him. They said I could go, but I wasn’t going to get paid but I just said okay no problem. By the first week they gave me a check and wanted to keep me for the whole camp. I sparred him for about 3 weeks straight and I was ready to leave but his team was saying that they wanted to pay me extra to stay so his team respects me and Lomachenko is a helluva fighter, but I think I am going to be the one to expose him.”
If current IBF Lightweight world titlist and former fellow US Olympic teammate Teofimo Lopez has anything to say about it, Stevenson will never receive his chance. That’s because both Lopez and Lomachenko are slated to face one another this coming Spring.
Stevenson has never been one to follow the crowd, but in terms of this matchup, his thinking falls right in line with mostly everyone else.
“I’m going with Lomachenko. I like Teofimo, don’t get me wrong but he has never been in the ring with that caliber of a fighter before.”
The same could be said about Stevenson. Sure he can officially call himself a world champion, but his resume leaves much to be desired. The lack of names on his ledger isn’t his own doing however. The 22 year old has asked for the biggest names in the division, but they aren’t exactly jumping for joy with the opportunity to face him.
Going up against Miguel Marriaga won’t send his profile through the roof. But just a few days after his contest, another Featherweight contender will step into the ring in Michael Conlan.
Conlan of course, is best known for sticking out his middle finger to the judges during the 2016 Olympic Games. As it stands, both Conlan and Stevenson share a few eerily things in common. For one, Conlan’s record of, 13 wins with zero defeats, with seven of those wins coming via knockout, is exactly the same as Stevenson. Conlan picked up the bronze medal in the 2012 Olympic Games, while Stevenson grabbed the silver in 2016. At 5 feet 8 inches, they even share the same height.
Still, even with so many things in common, Stevenson believes there is no comparison. But don’t expect him to be given the chance to show it inside of the ring anytime soon though.
“Bob Arum already said that we can’t fight cause he’s a small 126 pounder and I’m a big 126 pounder so he doesn’t want to see that fight happen. For this fight I actually asked to fight Michael Conlan because he’s about to be my mandatory for the WBO but Arum just doesn’t want to make it happen.”
Whether it’s a showdown with Conlan, Vasiliy Lomachenko or any of the other top names in or around his division, Stevenson wants them all. With the sort of talent that he possesses, it comes as no surprise that he is already being compared to some of the greatest fighters to ever lace em up.
This is common practice in the sport of boxing, but at this point, it could be considered malpractice as the pressure that is placed on the shoulders of these fighters often times are too much for them to bear.
So who is the historically great fighter that Stevenson has been compared to?
That isn’t too much of a lofty goal for Stevenson. After all, to live up those expectations all he has to do is become a five division world champion, beat some of the best fighters of all-time and go on to have an undefeated career over a 20 year span. Sounds easy enough.
The comparison to Mayweather might seem a bit far fetched, but in actuality, it may not be.
In 1998, a 21 year old Floyd Mayweather cruised to an easy victory over Genaro Hernandez for his first world title. In his most recent ring appearance, Stevenson, 22, made it look easy against Joet Gonzalez to take home his first world title as well. In 1996, Mayweather was forced to take home a bronze medal in the Olympic Games when many believed he was robbed of the gold. Stevenson shares a similar story.
In 2016, Stevenson managed to fight his way to the final contest of the Rio De Janeiro games. Many believed that he did more than enough to take home gold, but came up short against Robeisy Ramirez.
When Mayweather was given the short end of the stick, he vowed to never lose again. Nearly 25 years later and a perfect record of 50-0, Mayweather proved himself right. Now, Stevenson uses the same motivation for himself.
“That motivates me. That was just like one of the worst days of my life, like it felt like somebody important to me died. I had put my all into wanting to win an Olympic gold medal. I was just right there so to lose right there it kind of broke me. But when I decided to turn pro I told myself that I was never going to lose again.”
Through 13 pro fights, Stevenson has kept his promise intact. Gold medal winning Robeisy Ramirez however, hasn’t been so lucky as he lost the first fight of his career.
“It’s not for everybody,” said Zab Judah as he chimed in on why some boxers have more success in the amateurs than the pros. ‘I know a lot of great fighters that had great amateur careers and they were untouchable but when they got to the pros and that headgear came off ohhh man it was like a button that every time they got touched they just kept going down.”
“Yeah it’s not the same level as amateurs,” said Stevenson as he picked up where Zab left off. “You’re fighting with smaller gloves, no headgear. Being in shape and skill plays a major part as well but it’s just a major difference between the pros and the amateurs.”
For now, Stevenson is showing that there is hardly a difference at all. He was dominant in the amateurs and even more so in the pros. It looks as though there isn’t much of a difference at all. At least for him.
But truth be told, there are a number of young fighters who have come onto the scene and have made it look easy. Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez and Chris Colbert are already making major noise as professionals.
Stevenson also notices and see’s them all as future matchups. But there is one name that stands out amongst the rest.
“I want to go up eventually and see all of those guys. Like with Ryan Garcia I beat him in the amateurs so we have a little bit of history. But if I’m being honest I think me and Devin are going to be the last two fighters standing. I just think Devin is a helluva fighter.”
There are those who would advise Stevenson to not overlook Marriaga. 25 knockout wins over 29 overall wins would tell you that he’s dangerous. But the young WBO belt holder simply rolls his eyes.
“Man, he’s got no chance. I’m a beat him up.”