Can Shakur Stevenson become a star without fighting big names?

By Jeepers Isaac - 09/12/2023 - Comments

Shakur Stevenson just had an appealing fight slip through his fingers with Frank ‘The Ghost’ Martin choosing not to fight him on November 16th for the vacant WBC lightweight title.

Martin is one of many fighters at 135 that have chosen not to fight the 26-year-old Shakur, and it’s coming pretty clear that he will be avoided his entire career, or at least until his reflexes start to deteriorate and he becomes more hittable.

Stevenson’s promoter Brad Jacobs believes he is becoming the ‘Face of Boxing,’ but that’s wishful thinking. Shakur is nowhere near as popular as fighters like Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia.

One major reason for that is the lack of high-level opposition on Shakur’s six-year pro resume. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist’s best win of his career is Oscar Valdez, and there hasn’t been anyone else that has grabbed the attention of fans.

“Whatever the biggest fight is, we’re willing and able to make it. We’re able to, as you say, cross the street and make things happen,” said Brad Jacobs of Top Rank to ProboxTV. “The right event comes along, yeah, we’d be thrilled to do it,” said Brad about fighting at The Sphere Arena in Las Vegas.

Can Shakur Stevenson become ‘Face of Boxing?’

“He’s becoming the face of boxing and certainly the future,” Brad said about Shakur.

Top Rank would like to put a fight together with Gervonta Davis for Shakur, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen. If They’re waiting for PBC & Mayweather Promotions to pull the trigger on a fight between Tank Davis & Shakur, they’ll be waiting for a long, long time.

A better move for Top Rank would be to have Shakur capture the vacant WBC lightweight title, then vacate & move up to 140, where he has a better chance of getting the big fights he needs to become a star.

If Shakur stays at 135, he’ll continue to be avoided, grow old, lose his hand speed & reflexes, and become food for the younger, more powerful contenders. That’s the reality of it.

Shakur needed the fight with Martin to raise his profile with the casual boxing fans, and instead, he’s stuck with a potentially difficult fight against the hard-hitting southpaw Edwin De Los Santos. That’s a dangerous fight for Shakur, particularly if he stays in the pocket and doesn’t use his pull-back move all night long.

“I don’t see anyone that can beat him, but this is boxing; Yeah, at least for the time being,” said Brad when asked if Shakur would stay at lightweight.

Gervonta would have an excellent chance of beating Shakur, and there are some other lightweights that would age him with their power. Shakur might beat them, but they’d put a lot of wear & tear on them, and the casual boxing fans wouldn’t pay attention to the fights.

“There’s all these other potential fighters for him to fight, so hopefully, he’ll have a long reign here,” said Jacobs sounding upbeat about Shakur.

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