Trainer Robert Garcia says Shakur Stevenson will be more avoided than ever after his stinker, safety-first performance against Edwin De Los Santos on November 16th in their world title fight in Las Vegas.
Robert feels that Shakur’s value went down with that contest, which he won by a twelve round unanimous decision to claim the vacant WBC lightweight title.
Shakur was pulling back several feet each time De Los Santos initiated offense, and when he would chase him, he’d run and then tie him up once caught. It didn’t resemble a boxing match. The fight looked more like fencing, and Shakur was to blame for that.
The big fights that Shakur (21-0, 10 KOs) and his promoters at Top Rank want against Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia or Vasily Lomachenko have virtually zero chance of happening.
Those guys aren’t going to want to have to chase Shakur all around the ring, and have to deal with the cascade of boos that will be showered down by the fans like we saw last Thursday in his fight with De Los Santos (16-2,14 KOs) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Stevenson’s contract with Top Rank expires after his next fight, and they could give him a new contract if they believe he can change his style.
But given that Shakur has fought this way since his amateur career, they’ll be asking for trouble if they re-sign him because his boring, timid, safety-first style is hardwired into his brain. He’s not going to change, no matter what.
Shakur Stevenson’s value went down, bad
“Nobody is happy to challenge him. Nobody is out there like, ‘Oh, s***, I want to fight Shakur,’ because he brings no excitement to the fight,” said trainer Robert Garcia to 210BoxingTV, discussing how Shakur Stevenson’s recent dull performance against Edwin De Los Santos will impact his career.
“I know for a fact, his value went down a lot, like bad,” said Robert about Shakur Stevenson. “Haney said it himself. ‘I was being too generous giving him 25%. I should give him 10%,’ because his value did drop.”
If Top Rank wants to overpay a top guy like Lomachenko, Haney or Teofimo to fight Shakur, it could happen, but the match would likely hemorrhage money for the promotional company.
It would be a gamble on Top Rank’s part to throw a ton of money at a top-level fighter to face Shakur, hoping the fight won’t lose too much money and praying that he’ll become a PPV star afterward. It would be a dumb idea, but you got to do something with the guy.
It doesn’t make sense for Bob Arum to pour a bunch of money into Shakur, when he failed to do the same thing with two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux when he fought for Top Rank.
He had a boring style, too, but a lot of power, and he would score one-punch knockouts, but Arum would always complain about him being dull. Rigondeaux was a heck of a lot more entertaining than Shakur, and a far better amateur fighter than the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, who lost to Cuban Robeisy Ramirez after running from him their entire fight in the finals.
“It’ll be the same thing,” said Robert when asked who wins between Shakur & Haney. “Fighting Shakur will be a fight where, especially Haney, who isn’t a brawler or an aggressive fighter. It’ll be a boring a** fight. I don’t know who the judges would want to give it to.
“I was there for the first four rounds. Everybody was booing,” said Robert about the Shakur vs. De Los Santos fight. “It was bad, it was sad. Everybody was booing.
“He has to,” said Robert when asked if Shakur would have to do a lot more to defeat Gervonta Davis. “He has to do that in his next fight because people will forget his last performance if he performs better in his next fight.”
Stevenson needs to make statement in next fight
“Whoever he fights, I don’t care who it is. He has to go out and make a statement,” said Garcia. “I’m not saying he’s going to knock everybody out because maybe he doesn’t have the power to knock them out like Tank does, but he needs to go out and show the world that he will fight.”
Shakur had said the week of the fight with De Los Santos that he wanted Lomachenko next, and he sounded like he was demanding it.
Some believe that Shakur won’t re-up with Top Rank unless they give him Lomachenko, but it’s difficult to imagine the Ukrainian talent agreeing to face him next.
Top Rank will probably offer Shakur to defend his WBC lightweight title against Raymond Muratalla next, and he’ll likely veto that idea. Muratalla is dangerous, and he would be willing to chase Shakur around the ring to knock him out.
Shakur knows that would be a tough fight for him because Muratalla isn’t short on courage, and his ugly pull-back style wouldn’t work against him. To defeat Muratalla, Shakur would have to battle him in the trenches, and he might not last long against this guy in that type of fight.
“People will forget his performance against De Los Santos if they see him perform aggressively and want to prove to the world something positive, but if he doesn’t, it won’t change,” said Robert.
“That’s the thing. I don’t know if the world would be excited about that fight,” said Robert on who would win between Gervonta & Shakur.
“If he [Shakur] had gone out and dominated, and I’m not saying knocked out, because maybe he doesn’t have the power, but at least dominated, tried and win convincingly against De Los Santos, then people would want to see the fight [between Shakur & Tank.
“But right now, nobody cares about him against Tank, honestly. I don’t care about that fight right now,” said Robert.
It won’t be easy to beat Shakur
“It was a boring a** fight. I was there for the first four rounds, and then I went home,” said Robert. “He’s one of the better fighters in the world. He’s very talented, but he fought too cautious, too careful, and didn’t take a chance.
“But even if your opponent is dangerous, you still got to take a little chance to show the fans and the people a little bit more, and he didn’t.
“He just did whatever it took to win his third world title in three divisions, but it didn’t help him, especially if he wants to fight someone like Tank or those big fights against Haney and stuff like that. It hurt him a little.
“The way he fought, if he continues to fight like that, it’s going to be hard to beat him because he doesn’t take chances. He doesn’t allow his opponents to [land]. You’ve got to have someone like Marcos Maidana, who just fights like a streetfighter, to maybe pin him to the ropes to land punches because he fought too carefully.
“Honestly, because of that, no one wants to fight him because of the way he fought. Imagine after this, even worse,” said Garcia when told that Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz turned down a fight with Shakur because he said he didn’t want to chase him around the ring.
“The lightweight division is stacked, but for him [Shakur] to come back and get a big fight, he needs to make a statement. It’s alright if he fights cautiously in the first four or five rounds. Tank does the same. Tank was losing a lot of rounds against [Ryan] Garcia,” said Robert.
Shakur won’t get the big fights
“Tank was losing rounds against Rolly, but then he goes and does what he has to do and knocks them out,” said Garcia. “That’s what Shakur needs to do to show the world that, ‘Okay, I’m smart, and I fight cautiously in the first few rounds, but then I go out there and I take care of business.’ He didn’t do that [against De Los Santos]. He fought the whole twelve rounds [timidly].
“After the fourth round, I took off. I went home. Shakur did enough to win the rounds. Maybe he wanted to secure his title. Maybe he won’t do it in his next fight. Hopefully, he doesn’t because he’s very talented. He’s got a great future and is one of the greatest fighters in the world, but that performance hurt him.
“He needs to come back and show the world that he won’t do that again. I don’t even like him or know him, but I just know he’s a great fighter. I thought he was going to clearly dominate and perform the way a pound-for-pound fighter should, but he didn’t.
“Yeah, he [Shakur] does [have a lot to prove], especially after his last fight, He has a lot to prove. I don’t think Teofimo would want to fight him, honestly,” said Robert when asked who wins between Shakur and WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo Lopez, who is promoted by the same company, Top Rank, as him.
“The way he performed, who wants to fight him? You know it’s going to be a slow, stinky fight. Who wants to fight him? Tank doesn’t want to fight him,” said Robert.