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SHAKUR STEVENSON TAKES ON JEREMIAH NAKATHILA: A CLOSER LOOK

By Anthony “Zute” George – At first glance, the boxing plate this Saturday night is light on the calorie intake. However, if you take time to peel the onion, you realize that whenever Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) is on display, it must be equated to a full meal. If you continue to peel even more layers and analyze Jeremiah Nakathila (21-1, 17 KOs), well, that is nothing short of a super-rich dessert with a cherry on top. 

The stakes are significant for this fight Saturday night. The hardware up for grabs is the WBO interim world super featherweight title. A strap that bridges the way for tremendous, big money fights for the winner. On the surface, the skeptic will say that Shakur should be in big money fights already. Before we were clamoring for a Stevenson vs. Oscar Valdez showdown, we were dreaming of viewing Shakur test his skills against the likes of Gary Russell Jr., Tank Davis, and Emmanuel Navarrete. Indeed, since none of these fights developed, it is understandable that Shakur’s fight against Jeremiah might feel like a letdown on the surface. However, if you ever only feed on the surface, you will never get full. 

Jeremiah Nakathila is probably an unknown commodity to the American boxing audience. His nickname is Low Key, and he has had extraordinarily little exposure on the US airwaves. Which is unfortunate because he could flat out fight. Low Key is what boxing fans would call ‘a good action fighter.’ He primarily comes forward and is well adept at cutting off the ring. His right hand is his money punch. Nakathila uses his jab more for range for that powerful right; however, his left hand has pop, as he will often finish up a three-punch combination with a strong left hook. He does not forget to go to the body and has the ability to set up his opponent when forced to back up. Jerimiah Nakathila should be considered a real contender, and I do not think it is far- fetched to call him a live underdog. He would present as a problem for anyone at 130 pounds. 

Low Key’s one major problem is that he is fighting one of the greatest talents boxing has ever seen. There is nothing that Shakur Stevenson, a southpaw, cannot do. Nothing. He is a fantastic counterpuncher who is not bashful about taking the lead. He has blue-chip defense and blinding speed. A nightmare for anyone to fight. 

Speed is the one element that Nakathila seems to be lacking in his skill set. Indeed, compared to Shakur, almost everyone else presents as a tortoise; however, Nakathila would be considered a slower, plodding, pugilist against most opponents. He has compensated this deficit by being very accurate and economical with his punches, and, as mentioned earlier, very solid at cutting off the ring. 

With that said, I think the best place for Stevenson to be is on the inside against Low Key. That would take away Low Key’s impressive power at range, and Stevenson is a formidable inside fighter. It should not be difficult for Shakur to get inside either. In previous fights, Jeremiah let lesser opponents walk right into the kitchen and rough him up, without so much as using a jab. That would be major trouble against a Shakur Stevenson. 

While it appears all the checkmarks go in the column of Shakur, this is still a dangerous fight with plenty of potential for action. When it is all said and done, I expect Shakur to dazzle on route to a decision. Still, Jeremiah Nakathila will not only make Shakur work harder than any of his other opponents, but his stock will also rise immensely when the fight is over.

Can the dangerous power of Low Key prove the boxing world wrong?

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images.

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