Shakur Stevenson, for many the best young fighter in the world today as far as the lower weight divisions go, is unhappy at the way he feels he is “being ducked” by a number of the fighters he is keen to get it on with. Stevenson, now campaigning at 135 pounds, having left the 126 and 130 pound divisions behind him, spoke with Marcos Villegas over the weekend, and the lightning fast lefty with the 19-0(9) record who already has two world titles to his resume said he will have to go looking for another foe as “Pitbull” Cruz and Jose Zepeda want nothing to do with him.
Stevenson says the trend of fighters avoiding tough fights is a sad indication of how the great sport of boxing has fallen down a few notches just lately.
Stevenson was hoping to fight Cruz or Zepeda next, but he says he will now have to go to the next guy in the line as far as the world rankings go – which means Shakur is now targeting a fight with former unified lightweight champ George Kambosos Jr.
“I should be back in March, maybe even April,” Stevenson told Villegas. “It may be Kambosos ‘cos Pitbull turned me down and Zepeda turned me down. I know from the rankings Kambosos is next, so I think it’ll be a Kambosos fight. I think it’s sad [I was turned down by Cruz and Zepeda]. Boxing’s in a sad state where fighters can just duck and get away with it. I think the fans and everybody allow them to duck. I haven’t fought at 135 yet and [they ducking]. So I don’t know why. I don’t know what boxing got going on.”
Is it true – are we, us guys, us fans, the media, the so-called experts too soft on the duck? It’s tough to argue with Shakur Stevenson, in as much as so many big fights that would have matched the best against the best have failed to materialise here in 2022. Of course, it would be great to get Cruz’ take on the Stevenson fight not being signed, as it would be nice to hear Zepeda’s view on what his next move will be and why.
But Stevenson, a guy who really does seem to want to take on all comers in a bid to prove he is the best, cannot be faulted for feeling frustrated. Indeed, Stevenson should be applauded for not wanting to take the easy route. Shakur really did nail it as far as potential ducking goes when he pointed out the fact that he has not had a fight at 135, and yet some names there are looking to dodge him.
So, if Stevenson does fight Kambosos next, what happens? It’s a good fight, for sure. Australian warrior Kambosos has never shown any inclination to duck anyone – going in, three fights in a row, with Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Devin Haney – so maybe this is the fight we will get in the first quarter of 2023.
As special as he seems to be, Stevenson will be a favourite to win, but Kambosos can be relied upon to give his all if and when this fight does go down. In a nutshell, the sport needs more fighters with the mindset Stevenson has.