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  • Writer's pictureLiliana Ulloa

How Shakur Stevenson Made 25% Look Like a Reasonable Offer Moving Forward

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

On my 21st birthday, March 26, 2013, I persuaded my friends to delay our drunken festivities until the end of a fight featuring one of my favorite boxers. Though not known for knockouts, his Olympic background, I believed, would impress them and would hopefully give us more reasons to drink for the night. Our excitement peaked in the third round when he knocked down his opponent, though my friends may have cheered partly because they thought it would be over soon.

The fight, however, took a different turn. Andre Ward, a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, secured an uneventful unanimous decision over Cuban contender Sullivan Barrera. Aside from the early knockdown, the only notable moments were Ward's low blows, resulting in a point deduction in the eighth round.

You might wonder how this relates to Shakur Stevenson. Let me explain

Waiting for Andre Ward to finish using Barrera's testicles for target practice was my biggest boxing-related disappointment until I decided to drive to Las Vegas midweek, taking two days off work. There, I watched Shakur Stevenson's lackluster performance against Edwin De Los Santos, a bid to become a three-division world champion. The 12-round fight, described by TGB's Brittany Goossen Brown as feeling like it was in 'dog years,' left me wondering if I, too, should've left the arena at the start of the seventh round along with other attendees.

See, I normally would describe some of the round-by-round action in the body of an article, yet Shakur Stevenson's underwhelming performance reflected in the limited amount of pictures made available post-fight. Only three, none which show either fighter landing a punch.

Picture Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

And though he early on built a reputation for not engaging enough for fans' liking, Stevenson proved to be special, completely disabling his opponents strengths with undeniable ring IQ and fluid defensive ability alone. This performance, however, showed he may make his opponents miss, he rarely makes them PAY.

This alone completely negates any comparison to the likes of Floyd Mayweather, whom Stevenson boasted about having attend a Top Rank show again. At least for the time being.

While he gave no excuses for his disappointing performance, even playing off a comment about possibly having an injured left hand, he did admit to fighting "scared," when he told the media, "Y’all act like I was being scary. He was being scary than a motherf-----, too.”

But as others on the internet have pointed out, this isn't the first time Stevenson shows particular hesitation against strong punchers. In his summer 2021 super-featherweight bout against Jeremia Nakathila, Stevenson said post-fight, "I really was being a little bit careful cuz, at the end of the day, you’ve g botta realize he got power, too... It was an awkward fighter in front of me, real awkward, real scary.”

With an impressive 87.5% knockout ratio, De Los Santos showed his game-changing potential in Sept. 2022, achieving an upset knockout victory over Jose 'Rayo' Valenzuela, a promising prospect under the guidance of Jose Benavidez Sr., in their fight. Given his explosiveness and heart in previous showings, the Dominican contender can be blamed just as much as Stevenson for the lack of action within their fight.

Neither Shakur, nor De Los Santos landed in the double digits for any of the rounds. (*cries in Easter Jr. vs. Barthelemy*)

Stevenson surpassed De Los Santos by landing a mere 25 more punches, achieving a total of 65 out of 209 attempts, according to CompuBox. Meanwhile, De Los Santos managed to land only 40 of his 316 total punches.

Post-fight, De Los Santos complained about Stevenson "running," along with all the other excuses dudes who can't cut off the ring usually say.

While some more cynical fans may scoff, noting that this isn't the first time Stevenson has delivered a dull performance, it is, however, the first instance I've noticed more fans favoring Gervonta 'Tank' Davis over the former Olympic silver medalist. Additionally, there's an increasing number of fans questioning Stevenson's comparisons to the all-time greats.

Whether due to an injury, reluctance to engage with a powerful puncher, or a mix of both, Stevenson's approach diminished his leverage in negotiations and alienated some of his fan base. Disappointed by what seemed more like a glorified sparring session, many fans left early, and those who remained did so mainly to just keep booing. This performance also impacted his ranking among fans, previously placing him above peers such as Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney. However, with all of them now competing at 140 pounds, their future dynamics remain uncertain and their beef all contained to

On top of his performance upsetting the fans, who felt that was no way to earn a vacant belt, Stevenson's attitude on social media continues to be a sore spot, with many negatively responding to the champion's reaction to criticism from his peers and others chiming in to weigh in on his performance. Most recently, Stevenson clapped back at both Garcia and Haney, claiming he is still a better fighter than them, regardless of their money and higher viewership. This, while maybe true, still doesn't deny the fact that Stevenson would be a B-side to either Haney or Garcia, based on the boxing business model alone.

In front of the media, Stevenson said he didn't want people to congratulate him on a bad performance, and apologized to Ward, Mayweather and Terence Crawford who walked him to the ring in support. While showing disappointment to have let his idols down, Stevenson on the other hand claimed he didn't care about the fans booing for the entirety of the fight.

"I've seen the greats get booed," Stevenson told the media, "I've seen Andre Ward get booed, I've seen Floyd get booed, I've seen Terence Crawford—go see his early fights... so I don't care."

Stevenson's supporters argue that his role as this era's villain, attracting hate-watchers much like Mayweather once did, adds to his appeal. However, I disagree, feeling that he still lacks the full artillery necessary for truly engaging in calculated risks. Even after transitioning from 'Pretty Boy' Floyd to 'Money' Mayweather, Floyd retained his reputation for outclassing opponents with his boxing prowess and delivering impactful punches that underscored his dominance.

At 26, Stevenson shows glimpses of potential greatness, but everyone knows boxing fans expect continuous improvement, both in performance and the quality of opponents. With the amount of trash talk from Stevenson in his recent fights, you'd expect him to transfer that explosiveness into the ring eventually. As the fan of the sport and true believer of his abilities, I hope he does, because I really would like to see his style clash against the other young fighters also in the conversation.

When I turned 21, I realized I couldn't ask my friends to delay our plans for another fight again. Similarly, I believe that unless Shakur Stevenson makes the necessary changes to become a highly anticipated contender against top boxing stars and move beyond his fights listing on, he won't be able to justify labeling himself as an 'avoided boogeyman.'

Especially if the primary reason isn't fear, but rather a perception of him not being a major draw in the sport, and therefore, a high-risk, low reward opponent.

That's just me though.

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