WBC lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson is already looking forward to speaking with different promotional companies after his contract expires with Top Rank after his next fight.
The unbeaten Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) expects there to be a huge demand for his services, which could result in a bidding war between the different promoters, provided he looks good in his next fight.
Logical destinations would be Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing Company or PBC. Neither one is ideal, though. Hearn may not be eager to sign Shakur if he feels he won’t attract interest from fans due to his dull fighting style. Hearn won’t want to dump a bunch of money into a fighter who underperforms.
Shakur going to PBC might not work out if they put all of his fights on Amazon Prime Video PPV. He’s not a PPV fighter, and he likely won’t draw.
The 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur can’t afford another performance like the one he turned in against Edwin De Los Santos last month on November 16th.
Stevenson threw very few punches and mostly moved around the ring, looking like he was actually running. Afterward, Shakur was proud of limiting De Los Santos to 40 punches landed in the twelve round fight.
It was learned after the fight that Shakur had a shoulder and hand injury that prevented him from throwing. Still, it’s important that he not perform like that in his next fight being that it’s his last on his current contract with Top Rank.
That wasn’t the first bad effort from Shakur because he fought like that against Jeremiah Nakathilia, Joet Gonzalez, and Robson Conceicao. He wasn’t injured going into those fights. He just looked scared of being hit.
Testing the market
“I’m going to talk to everybody. I’m still in contract, but I’m just letting you know as far as the promoters and everybody that works in boxing. Just pay attention to what I just told y’all. The influence that I have on the next generation is insane,” said Shakur Stevenson to DAZN Boxing about his attention to speak with all the different promoters to find his next destination after his contract ends with Top Rank after his next fight.”
There would be a big demand for Shakur if he looks good in his next fight, but Top Rank will have to watch him carefully for his next outing to increase the chances of his impressing.
If they put Shakur in with someone good, he might revert back to the defensive style he used against De Los Santos, and that would be a disaster.
Stevenson can’t keep using injury excuses to explain away his bad performances, considering that the fans won’t continue to be taken in.
“Probably I would, but I don’t know,” said Shakur when asked if he would call the fight off if he were injured while training for a mega-fight against Gervonta Davis or if he would go into it hurt as he did against Edwin De Los Santos.
If Shakur fought injured against Tank Davis, he’d have to run around the ring for twelve rounds, and it mess up his career, even if he won. Running from Tank the entire fight could make it difficult for him to win because he’ll be getting hit hard on occasion, and the judges would be more impressed with that than the lighter shots he’s connecting with.
“Yeah, but I got a lot of [pride]. So, I got to take control of my pride and understand. Do what’s smart for [my career]. For sure, I probably would because it’s the biggest fight of my life. I got to make sure I’m fully 100 [percent] and ready to go,” said Shakur.
“You heard. He’s going to be talking to everybody, so you better bring that checkbook,” said Akin Reyes about Shakur intending to talk with all the promotional companies to get the best deal when his contract expires with Top Rank.
“They could say Edwin was my toughest. No, it wasn’t my toughest. What I will say is I thought Edwin was skillful. So, I will give him the toughest fight credit right now, but he didn’t challenge me. He fell for the pump fake. I pump-faked him for twelve rounds,” said Shakur.
De Los Santos was definitely the hardest fight that Shakuir had, as he appeared to come close to losing. The judges didn’t score it close, but it was. Shakur was so worried about getting clipped that he stayed on the rung for the entire fight.
Openness to all options
“If it was up to me, I’d fight him next,” said Shakur about Gervonta Davis. “It’s up to him. He’s got a great team behind him.”
Tank Davis isn’t going to want to fight Shakur because of the running he did against De Los Santos. The last thing he wants is an opponent that is on the move all night long.
“You have one fight left at Top Rank. Do you see yourself ending your career at Top Rank or going someplace else?” said Reyes.
“I’m going to talk with everybody. I’m going to explore all options. Top Rank is still an option. It’s not like they’re not an option,” said Shakur. “They done put me in a great position.”
Staying with Top Rank would be a good option if Bob Arum isn’t selling the company to Endeavor, as it’s rumored to be doing.
“But you’re not saying, ‘I’m definitely signing with Top Rank?’ You want to explore your options,” said Reyes.