Giving any young prospect the title of the next Mayweather might be an unfair burden. However, it isn’t a moniker handed out lightly, and Shakur Stevenson is one of the most impressive young fighters that has emerged in the last decade and probably longer. What makes it even more exciting is that the Olympic silver medalist from New Jersey is in and around the lightweight division, which is, by some distance, the most exciting division in the sport currently.
He has already surpassed Mayweather in the amateur ranks, with Floyd only winning a bronze medal. However, it has to be said that this was an unbelievably contentious decision, and Floyd was robbed in his bout, which stopped him from rightly challenging for the gold medal.
Shakur doesn’t have the same hobbies as Floyd, who indulges in the finer things in his retirement. He has a fleet of businesses, has been known to enjoy gambling at an online casinos like Bodog, and likes to regularly add to his multi-million-dollar expensive sports car collection. Maybe Shakur might follow this path if he creates a billion-dollar dynasty like Floyd “Money” Mayweather has.
Shakur – The Early Years
Stevenson’s talent was evident when he won all the top world youth tournaments, including the World Championships and the Youth Olympics. Medaling in the Rio Olympics in 2016 at 18 further cemented that he was at the leading point of a new generation of American talent waiting to explode onto the professional scene.
It doesn’t get much bigger than the Olympics but winning a medal at 18 against some of the most highly established fighters in the world made every big promoter sit up and take notice. As a result, Bob Arum’s Top Rank obtained his signature, and he has hit the ground running since his professional debut in 2017.
WBO Featherweight Champion
After twelve convincing and routine fights to gather the experience necessary to jump to the world level, Stevenson challenged Joet Gonzalez for the WBO featherweight title. He looked like he had been at that level for years. He won every round against Gonzalez, which looked like a routine tune-up against a journeyman.
However, Gonzalez was and still is a top-level fighter. Not many people needed convincing, but Shakur announced he was finally at the world level, and everybody who watched him knew he would be here for a long time.
After several defenses, Stevenson wanted to become a two-weight world champion and set his sights on the super featherweight division. The comparisons to Mayweather come from the similarity in styles, especially early Floyd. However, the speed, footwork, and ring IQ are all on a completely different level from the fighters he has fought. This includes multiple world title fights that Shakur has already participated in.
As Floyd grew, he became a defensive genius. However, earlier on, when his nickname was Pretty Boy, Floyd was a ferocious, powerful, lightning-fast knockout merchant. Stevenson is still growing into his strengths, and if there’s any criticism of the gifted young fighter, he lacks some of the power he might need to carry him through the weight divisions.
Two Weight World Champion
When a fighter moves up a weight class, they lose some power, unless you’re Naoya Inoue. However, the smaller fighters will often rise through the weight classes and have an advantage with their hand speed – which is one of the key benefits of moving up from a lower weight class.
For somebody with blurring hand speed at featherweight, super featherweights were not keen on facing Shakur Stevenson. However, Jamal Herring witnessed the speed first-hand, and the WBO super featherweight champion was relieved of his world title strap, stopped by the New Jersey man in the tenth round of the contest.
Becoming a two-weight world champion, he picked up the second of four belts at the weight by thoroughly dismantling Oscar Valdez to win the WBC title, dropping the Mexican twice.
A Trip to Lightweight
Stevenson has his eyes on the prize, the lightweight division, impressing majorly on his first trip up to the 130lb division. The division contains Gervonta Tank Davis, Ryan Garcia, Vasyl Lomachenko, and undisputed champion Devin Haney. There’s also an undercurrent of world-level fighters who are all excellent, like George Kambosos Jr and Frank Martin.
It is the five-star division in boxing now. If Tank, Garcia, Shakur, and Haney can all fight each other, we could witness a new golden era of boxing, something the sport has been crying out for since the last one took place in the mid-1980s with Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Thomas Hearns.
Putting the label on Shakur as the new Mayweather is daunting, but he is a fighter with his head screwed on and is equipped to beat any of the names we have mentioned. If he gets past Haney, Tank, and Lomachenko, he will be number one, pound-for-pound. Then, depending on how long he stays there, he could go on to emulate Money Mayweather.
Outside the Ring: Persona and Charisma
Shakur Stevenson’s captivating performances inside the boxing ring are complemented by his magnetic persona and undeniable charisma outside of it. With a winning smile and confident demeanor, Stevenson effortlessly engages with fans and the media, leaving a lasting impression. His natural charm and charisma have endeared him to a broad audience, transcending the sport of boxing. Whether he is conducting interviews, attending public events, or interacting with supporters on social media, Stevenson’s magnetic personality shines through. His ability to connect with people on a personal level has contributed to his growing fan base and has cemented his status as a rising star in the world of sports.