Blair Cobbs feels it’s a bad time for the sport to have Shakur Stevenson front & center headlining cards and boring fans with his safety-first, “retreating” style that he uses
Cobbs says that the performance that Shakur (21-0, 10 KOs) put in last Thursday night against Edwin De Los Santos was his “baseline,” as that’s how he always fights.
The only difference is De Los Santos (16-2, 14 KOs) was better than the guys that Shakur has been routinely fighting, so he was unable to look good against him by doing the minimum to win a twelve round unanimous decision in a fight that could have easily gone either way with a different set of judges working.
Shakur has used the retreating style since his amateur days, and he was beaten in the 2016 Olympics by Robeisy Ramirez because he was too timid and couldn’t stand his ground because he was getting lit up by the two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba.
If you’re Top Rank, it’s not great to have Shakur boring fans, as the last thing they need is for ESPN to get out of the boxing business due to dull performances from their fighters.
The good news for Top Rank is Shakur’s contract is up with them after one more fight. So it might be a good idea to let him leave and sign with PBC, Golden Boy, or Matchroom Boxing.
Shakur fought the way he always does
“We come to see boxing because of the entertainment value, and they don’t have that entertainment value right now, and that’s a problem,” said Blair Cobbs to MillCity Boxing, reacting to Shakur Stevenson’s non-entertaining win over Edwin De Los Santos last Thursday night.
It’s been clear since Shakur turned pro, that he’s NOT entertaining to watch inside the ring. The only thing that’s interesting about Shakur is watching him brag about himself in a Mayweather-esque manner.
Fans like watching fighters who are narcissists but who lack the ability to back up their boasting. Inside the ring, Shakur is so boring, and it makes you wonder why Top Rank puts so much energy, money, and time into Shakur’s career, while not doing the same for more entertaining fighters in their stable like Raymond Muratalla.
“He performed the way he did because he had no choice. That is actually his style,” said Blair about Shakur. “Most times, he looked better because the other fighter looked worse. That’s just how he fights. He fights like that all the time.”
Shakur’s recent opposition:
- Shuichiro Yoshino
- Oscar Valdez
- Jamel Herring
- Jeremiah Nakathilia
“He doesn’t have a multi-dimensional personality or multi-dimensional character when it comes to the ring. His skills are his skills, and he has the exact same s**t going on every time,” said Cobbs.
“Maybe a hand injury might have been the case,” said Blair, giving Shakur the benefit of the doubt about his poor performance. “The only thing I can say is that he’s fighting the way he’s always fought, and the only difference is he’s fighting a guy that isn’t giving him what he wants to make him look even better than the way he does normally.
“This is his baseline. If he can get the fight down to one punch per round, and he is the only person that lands the punch, he’s going to win the fight.”
Shakur does the minimum to win rounds and fights, and in the rare cases that he does core a knockout, it’s against weak opposition with no talent or power.
“He’s [Shakur] very good at what he does, but boxing isn’t a sport,” said Shakur. “We got YouTubers killing it right now, You bet to get your s**t together. Put something on. Make this exciting. I could do this s**t all day.
“Does he [Shakur] have a broken left hand? Throw that b**ch some more. Fans want to see some fights. We come to see some action. We come to see a fight break out in the ring. In the midst of all this boxing s**t and technicality, we want to see a fight break out, and that’s not what we’re seeing right now,” said Cobbs.
Stevenson’s style = bad for boxing
“It’s so tactical to the point where there’s barely any punches being landed or thrown,” said Cobbs. “There are a few jabs from Shakur. He holds a very defensive posture. He’s very fast on his feet with the retreat. He’s very fast on the retreat, and he doesn’t step forward that much. He steps forward with one step at a time. So it’s really hard to pull him into a trap.”
Shakur used that “retreat” method exclusively last night to beat De Los Santos by a questionable decision, and man, was it boring to watch. Fans were booing like mad, and De Los Santos, the B-side fighter, was given the business by the judges.
Despite being the aggressor and landing the harder shots, De Los Santos was given a loss, which saved Top Rank’s fighter Shakur, who they’re they can turn into a PPV star. That ain’t happening unless fans are dumb as doorknobs.
“He’s a very cautious fighter, and right now, for boxing, it’s probably not good,” said Cobbs about Shakur Stevenson. “People are getting cursed by chasing money instead of chasing greatness. Sometimes that hurts.
“He’s just doing what he has to do to get that WBC belt. We come to see boxing because of the entertainment value, and they do not have that entertainment value right now. That’s a problem.
“When these types of fights happen where they sell out the T-Mobile Arena and everyone comes to watch [Stevenson] put on, whether he gets beat up or wins the fight in dramatic fashion, it’s not good enough because he didn’t do that. He’s just fighting for belts. He’s not fighting for greatness,” said Cobbs about Shakur.
“As much as he says he wants more money, does he really deserve more money? No, you don’t deserve more money fighting a Devin Haney fight. Devin Haney is chasing greatness. You’re out chasing belts. I’d rather see some other stuff get in there,” said Cobbs.