Shakur Stevenson finally has an opponent–and it appears a direction, too
Shakur Stevenson is, as of now, fighting Alberto Guevara on Saturday night in New Jersey, and that’s saying something, because foe after foe have fallen out.
Stevenson is 11-0, with 6 knockouts, and is ranked No. 1 by the WBO, and the Top Rank boxer admitted that he’s done a bit less scouting on Guevara, because he’s already spent ample time studying other guys. Hairon Socarras was in, then out. Franklin Manzanilla accepted the substitute roll, then dropped out. Now, Guevara gets that call and all hope sticks with the assignment.
The 22-year-old was asked if he was being overly stressed fighting in his home state, at the Prudential Center, because of people tugging on him, asking for tix, etc. “I’m locked in, and I’m ready, I don’t think none of the pressure will get to me, I think I’m made for moments like this.”
The hitter shared that he thinks, should he get the win on Saturday, his next fight will be for a title. He believes he’s improving in every fight. He shed the amateur style, he stated, and he is now fully acclimated to the pro game.
Coming of age and becoming a sports celebrity in this day can be hard to navigate. Stevenson said, yes, the haters and negativity aren’t fun, but he does well, now, to better shrug off the nasty critics. “It is what it is, I don’t really care. I just wanna keep getting better and better and become one of the best in the sport of boxing.” His people say that after a public fracas that gained media attention, he’s all in on boxing and making the right moves to elevate as a professional.
In his last outing, Stevenson handled solid pro Christopher Diaz of Puerto Rico, underneath Terence Crawford-Amir Khan at MSG, and with relative ease. But yet, critics will snipe. Shakur says he’s not getting sidetracked by that.
Headlining at home, that is a positive step. The oldest of nine kids, he “grew up in one of the most dangerous cities in the US,” he shared. Newark was no picnic, but with Shakur being the eldest, he tried to look after the little ones. “We came up hard, but it made me who I am today,” he said, recalling that space wasn’t overly ample.
He looks back on it all as being beneficial, because it helped toughen him up. On Saturday, on a card being run on ESPN and ESPN+, mom and dad and the siblings will be front row to see Shakur deal with Guevara.
The Mexican opponent is 27-4, with 12 KOs, and he has been stopped once. “I’ve scouted him a little bit, but not too much because the opponents keep changing. I kind of got annoyed looking at different styles,” Stevenson said, and yes, he did see tape of Guevara being stopped by Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2013.
The Jersey guy told me that he won’t be pressing too hard for a KO, to try and give the hometown peeps extra buzz.
The featherweight Stevenson isn’t false humble; after the Diaz win, he took to the mic and said that he thinks his defense is of all-time great caliber. Yep, some regarded that as heavy-duty cocky, but he knows it’s up to him to prove it.
So, if he downs Guevara, do we have an idea of what could come next? Oscar Valdez holds the WBO crown, and maybe he moves up? “Either he moves up or he fights me, it doesn’t matter me, I just wanna fight for that belt,” the NJ native, now living in Virginia, stated.
Any other folks he’s aiming at? In the next year, Shakur, also rated No. 1 in the WBA, said he wants to win a crown at 126, and then likes the idea of unifying. If no unification, then he’ll hit 130, he said. “I’m just ready to take over the sport of boxing!”
He won’t offer a prediction, he said, because he didn’t match his last prediction.
Summing up … people can watch him do his stuff on “regular ESPN,” and “I feel like I’m gonna be the next up-and-coming fighter that’s gonna be the head honcho … if they don’t know, they’re gonna know Saturday!”
Follow Woods on Twitter if you like.
GET THE LATEST ISSUE AT THE RING SHOP (CLICK HERE)