Boxing experts Chris Algieri and Paulie Malignaggi both believe that it’s more likely that Keith Thurman will upset Tim Tszyu than for lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson to stay retired.
They believe that WBC champion Shakur’s recently announced retirement this week was a combination of frustration and a possible negotiating ploy, as his contract with Top Rank is about to expire.
The unbeaten 26-year-old Shakur (21-0, 10 KOs) can make a lot of money if he leaves Top Rank and signs with PBC. He’d have access to all the fighters like Gervonta Davis, Frank Martin, and Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero.
Algieri and Malignaggi still believe it’s unlikely for the 35-year-old Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) to defeat the unbeaten WBO junior middleweight champion Tszyu (24-0, 17 KOs) in their fight on March 30th on Amazon Prime PPV at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Thurman hasn’t fought in two years; he’s pretty old and hasn’t fought at 154 since 2009. When Thurman did fight at that weight, it wasn’t against world-class opposition.
Also, Thurman hasn’t fought a talented fighter since his loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2019. He fought once in the last five years, and that was against Mario Barrios, the former WBA 140-lb belt-holder that Gervonta Davis knocked out.
Shakur’s Retirement: A Ploy or a Permanent Exit?
“I think it’s more likely that Keith Thurman wins the fight against Tim Tszyu, but I don’t predict it will happen,” said boxing expert Paulie Malignaggi to ProBox TV.
“I would be very hard-pressed to think Shakur Stevenson stays retired. I think this is a contract ploy that his contract is coming to an end, and also a bit of frustration, and naturally, he’s just mad.
“Everybody can use social media to their advantage today, and there’s always retirement and non-retirement constantly in boxing. So, in a sport where nobody stays retired, certainly, a guy who is in his prime now definitely is not going to stay retired,” said Malignaggi about Shakur.
“I think there’s a better chance of Thurman getting an upset over Tim Tszyu. Let’s say, which I don’t think much of a chance, but let’s say maybe a cut or maybe an injury. Tim Tszyu twists his ankle like Matt Korobov did against Chris Eubank Jr. or pulls out his shoulder, and Keith wins the fight.
Thurman vs. Tszyu: Upset Brewing?
“Something like that could happen in Thurman vs. Tszyu. I think that it’s more likely that Thurman wins an unlikely victory rather than Shakur stays retired. I really can’t see Shakur Stevenson retiring,” said Malignaggi.
“There’s no chance Shakur will stay retired. It has nothing to do with him as a person. He’s a young guy; he’s at the top of the sport. There’s a ton of money at his fingertips,” said Chris Algieri about Stevenson.
“He’s a frustrated fighter. That’s why he’s saying he’s retired. In terms of Keith Thurman and Tim Tszyu, yeah, Thurman could pull out a victory here. That’s way more foreseeable than Shakur not fighting again.
“Shakur staying retired? Come on, he’s 26-years-old. He’s got 20 more years to make a comeback, and we’ve seen people way past that. Listen, Thurman can still punch. They call him ‘One Time’ for a reason.
“He’s very explosive early on. He comes out, and anything can happen. He can catch Tszyu. Tszyu gets caught by a shot that he doesn’t see, and he gets wobbled, and he gets hurt. It would definitely be less likely, but it’s possible,” said Algieri.
Stevenson Not Retiring
“Shakur Stevenson strikes me as someone who loves boxing. This is more frustrating than anything else. He loves boxing,” said Malignaggi. “When you love boxing that much, it’s hard to keep you out for a long time, especially when you start watching TV, and you start seeing lesser fighters than you having success.
“Your juices get going, and you want to fight again. There are guys who were in denial that they used to be great, and they don’t want to retire, even though their greatness is behind them, and they want to keep fighting.
“So, imagine someone who is still in his prime. He would regret it if he stayed retired. He’s not going to retire. Thurman, on the other hand, needs a break,” said Malignaggi.
“Shakur us using this as a negotiating ploy,” said Algieri. “His contract with Top Rank is coming to a close very, very soon. There’s a ton of money available for him. There’s a bunch of fights lined up right around him.
“He’s going to be able to unify these belts the next year, most likely. There’s zero chance he’s going to stay retired. Listen, fights are fights; anything can happen. Guys are punching each other.
“We’ve seen upsets. Yes, Thurman beating Tszyu would be an upset, but it’s way more likely than Shakur Stevenson never fights again, never lacing up a pair of gloves, and never doing what he’s been doing his whole life,” said Algieri.