As fight fans know, unbeaten star in the making Shakur Stevenson announced his retirement from the sport last week, this more than anything down to the sheer frustration of him not being able to get the big fights. Fight fans also know they never believed a word of it. And now, pretty much on cue, Stevenson has said he will “come out of retirement” for the right fight. And the right fight, as Shakur wrote on social media, is a unification fight at 135 pounds.
Angered at the way Emanuel Navarrete was recently ordered to fight Denys Berinchyk for the vacant WBO lightweight belt, Stevenson writes how he fully expects Vasiliy Lomachenko and Navarrete to meet in a unification fight if they both win their next fight (Loma will face George Kambosos for the vacant IBF 135 pound belt in May).
But as Shakur points out, nobody can become unified champ at 135 without fighting and defeating him, thus taking the WBC title he never vacated during his very short “retirement.”
“I’m waiting for the opportunity to come out of retirement. I got a WBC belt. So all roads to undisputed, being at 135, it comes through me,” Stevenson wrote. “We can already see them unifying, Lomachenko and a Navarrete fight. They can’t become the undisputed champion without coming to get the WBC strap off me. They can do what they want, but I’m still going to be right here waiting on everybody. My opportunity got to come. There’s no way of becoming undisputed at 135 without one of those dudes coming to see me.”
It will be interesting seeing how things play out – Will Loma beat Kambosos? Will Navarrete beat Berinchyk? And then, will one of the two winners agree to face Stevenson? You cannot blame Stevenson one bit for being as annoyed and as disappointed as he is over the way the names he wants to fight will not face him. Stevenson may not be the most exciting fighter in the world, but so what? Shakur might just be the best lightweight on the planet, and the other guys, when the smoke clears, simply have to do the right thing and fight him.
How soon this could happen is a big question. But at age 26, Stevenson will of course fight again. It’s just a matter of who is willing to agree to do the right thing and fight him.
As things are right now, Stevenson, 21-0(10) has one fight left per his deal with Top Rank. What happens after that expires is up for discussion.