Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says he wants to match Shakur Stevenson against Miguel ‘Alacran’ Berchelt and Oscar Valdez against Emanuel’ Vaquero’ Navarrete in the first quarter of 2022.
The winner of those two fights will then battle in a unification fight with the WBC & WBO super featherweight titles on the line.
Shakur will need to agree to Arum’s idea of facing the dangerous Berchelt first rather than Valdez.
If Stevenson vetoes Arum’s plan, he’ll likely wind up with a lesser opponent and still not get the fight that he’s demanding against Valdez. Hopefully, the young 24-year-old Stevenson doesn’t throw a tantrum and refuse to fight Berchelt because he still won’t get the Valdez fight next regardless.
Throwing a fit won’t help Shakur. He’s got to be mature about this and work for the fight with Valdez, and he must continue to fight in an entertaining manner, as we saw in his win over 35-year-old Herring.
It might not make newly crowned WBO 130-lb champion Shakur (17-0, 9 KOs) that he won’t get a chance to fight WBC belt-holder Oscar Valdez (30-0, 23 KOs) next, as he called him out after his win over WBO champ Jamel’ Semper Fi’ Herring on October 23rd, saying he wanted to fight him in an immediate unification match.
Stevenson, 24, believes that Valdez is ducking him and that he’s being protected by his promoters.
That’s not how Arum sees it. He’s all for the idea of Valdez and Stevenson fighting in unification, as long as those two win their risky preliminary fights first in early 2022.
If Valdez beats the talented Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs) and Shakur beats former WBC super featherweight champion Berchelt )38-2, 34 KOs), we’ll see Stevenson-Valdez in 2022.
It’s not certain that Valdez beats Navarrete, though, as that’s a guy with size, power, and a high work rate. Unlike Valdez’s recent fight with Berchelt, he won’t be able to count on Navarrete being weight drained and weak. Navarrete is going to be at his best, and he potentially beat Valdez.
Shakur could lose as well if Berchelt regains the form that he’s had in the last seven years.
A prime Berchelt would be dangerous for Stevenson, especially if he chooses to stay in the pocket and fight rather than use his boring pull-back style that he’s employed most of his short pro career.
Berchelt looked 100% weight drained in losing to Oscar Valdez by a 10th round knockout last February.
It was a combination of Berchelt, 29, being weight drained, and Valdez showing energy and power that we hadn’t seen before.
Valdez looked like an amped-up Superman against Berchelt, and he likely would have beaten anyone from 130 to 135 with the way he fought.
If Valdez is in the type of condition for his fight with Navarrete, he will destroy him and very likely beat the winner of the Valdez vs. Berchelt fight.
“I want [Oscar] Valdez to fight Emanuel Navarrete and to match Shakur against maybe Berchelt, who Valdez beat in a spectacular fight,” said Bob Arum to Sky Sports.
“We’d see how Shakur does with Berchelt; then we can match the winners.
“I think that’s the way to go, and that’s what we will suggest to them,” said Arum.
It should be interesting to see if Stevenson goes along with the program and agrees to take the fight with Arum. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur could drag his feet if he doesn’t get his way by fighting Valdez next.
“I hope to have Shakur back in the ring in March or April. Same thing with Valdez and Navarrete.”
“But it’s one thing to be a talent and another thing to take that talent and become a crowd-pleasing fighter.
“Shakur now understands that. I just want him to be a superstar.”