Shakur Stevenson got the win last night, and by a landslide of a decision. Stevenson, still only 23 years of age, shut-out Jeremiah Nakathila, 21-2(17) to claim the WBO interim belt at 130 pounds, but nobody was happy – not even Stevenson himself. It was a dull fight, devoid of drama or action and the critics have let Stevenson know it. But the slick southpaw knew himself he did not deliver a great performance.
“I apologize to all my fans I didn’t feel good tonight but I did what I had to do to win. Thank you for all da support and I promise better further fights to come,” Stevenson wrote on social media.
Now 16-0(8), Stevenson was carrying some kind of illness in last night’s fight so maybe he gets a pass for his less than scintillating showing. Stevenson is still a major talent and a possible future great, and who of the greats didn’t have dull fight on the way up? So what next for Stevenson? The plan is for Stevenson to next fight full WBO 130 pound champ Jamel Herring, and after that, Stevenson wants a big fight with Oscar Valdez in what would be a unification fight.
But can Stevenson beat Herring? Can he beat Valdez? If you are going to base Stevenson’s chances against either fighter on last night’s performance, then maybe not. But Stevenson will give us better fights, better performances, as he has promised. And a win is a win of course. Still Herring, 23-2(11) will be extra-confident he can beat Stevenson. The tougher than tough former marine who is coming off a stoppage win over Carl Frampton is also a southpaw and he has that long (72”) reach.
Herring will probably be the underdog going into the fight with Stevenson, but it is a good, hard to pick fight. As for Valdez, 29-0(23), he looked sensational in taking out Miguel Berchelt back in February, and right now, Valdez would almost certainly be too much for Stevenson. Let’s see if Stevenson can get past Herring, if he can earn a fight with Valdez. Maybe he needs another year or so. Before he gets in there with the WBC champ.