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Shakur Stevenson Blames Delay On Fearful Fighters

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Recently retired Shakur Stevenson states that it wasn’t his decision to delay his title defense of his WBC lightweight belt until July 6th.

Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) says he would have fought in March or April, but no one in his weight class wants to fight him. The 26-year-old Shakur doesn’t say why he won’t move up to 140 to expand his options.

Shakur will reportedly be defending his WBC 135-lb title against recently beaten #8 Artem Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs) in the final fight of his current contract with his promoters at Top Rank.

Shades of Rigondeaux?

It’s believed that the promotional company Top Rank won’t make a strong effort to re-sign Shakur, believing it’s a waste of time due to his non-crowd-pleasing style of fighting. More importantly, the top fighters had no interest in fighting him due to his highly defensive style.

Some see Shakur as this era’s version of two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux, but far more duller. Rigo, during his prime, was a huge puncher with his left hand, and not afraid to mix it up.

In contrast, Shakur is a peck-and-scat fighter who is generally looking to outpoint his opponents by doing the minimum. He uses an amateur fencing style that doesn’t translate well to the pro game.

Amateur boxing isn’t widely viewed in the U.S., so fighters can get away with Shakur’s style without it being a big deal. In the professional ranks, it’s important to be entertaining, and that’s where Shakur falls short.

Stevenson Fires Back

“It wasn’t my decision to wait this long; if it were up to me, I would have been back in March or April,” Shakur Stevenson said on X about why his next fight won’t be happening until July 6th.

“Tell that to all the punk a** fighters in my weight that turned down the fight with me.”

It’s crucial that Shakur show a more aggressive style of fighting in his July 6th title defense against Harutyunyan if he wants to get one of the bigger-name fighters to show interest in fighting him.

Top Rank would be better off letting Shakur walk if he turns in another boring performance as we saw in his fights against Edwin De Los Santos, Oscar Valdez, Jeremiah Nakathilia, and Joet Gonzalez.

If none of the talented fighters are interested in fighting Shakur, he’s useless to Top Rank or any promoter unless they’re willing to grossly overpay someone popular to fight him. To do that, they’d have to be willing to lose money on Shakur’s fights.

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