By Anthony “Zute” George – Shakur Stevenson’s victory over Jeremiah Nakathilia proves one thing. Dominance is not always thrilling. While Stevenson won virtually every second of every round, his twelve- round decision Saturday night will not make anyone forget Bobby Chacon or Tony ‘The Tiger’ Lopez. With that being said, what Shakur Stevenson did in the ring should be considered impressive. Now hear me out. Shakur had a solid action fighter in front of him all night, albeit he was limited. Still, he pursued Shakur with power all night and hardly laid a glove on him. There are not many pugilists who could equal that defensive prowess.
However, super defense while taking minimal risks is not anything the fans want to see. Which is perfectly understandable.
Shakur Stevenson knows this better than anyone, “To be honest, I didn’t really like my performance. I felt I could’ve performed a lot better, but it was an awkward fighter. You had an awkward fighter throwing hard punches, and he knows how to grab and get away. He was a real awkward fighter. That’s all,” Shakur said after the fight.
Shakur’s apologetic attitude did not stop there. He issued an apology to his fans on his social media handles shortly after the fight. Promising to do better in his next fight. Which is precisely the point. All Stevenson (this potential superstar) could do is perform better in the next fight in the sense where he dazzles and captures the imagination of those watching.
Timothy Bradley went as so far as to say that he was falling asleep during the fight. Well, Mr. Bradley, the feeling was mutual when watching your fight against Devon Alexander, as well as some other fights of yours. Yet Bradley kept getting opportunities in big spots, and overall, he delivered enough excitement to be considered on the bubble for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Bradley was always given that next fight, even when he was as exciting as watching snails race. Shakur Stevenson deserves that next fight too.
Hopefully, that fight will be against either Jamel Herring or Oscar Valdez. Either opponent would be considered a significant step up from Nakathila. It will take more than the safety first, control of range, one punch at a time, performance we saw from Stevenson Saturday night to defeat either Herring or Valdez. Those are the kinds of fights that would properly annunciate Shakur Stevenson’s greatness.
While there is no defending Shakur’s imitation of a sleeping pill Saturday night, it in no way should define his career. I say this because some criticisms are way out of line because they suggest Shakur is not any good and will never be any good. Hyperbole at its best.
After all, Carlos Monzon is regularly considered as sliced bread. Can you name a duller fight than his rematch against Emile Griffith? Perhaps Roy Jones vs. Bernard Hopkins? Maybe Michael Spinks vs. Dwight Muhammad Qawi? How about Muhammad Ali vs. Jimmy Young? I got it, Andre Ward vs. …. fill in the blank. There are many boring fights to choose from that involve what the boxing world would consider all-time greats. Indeed, Shakur Stevenson has miles to go before being considered an all-time great; however, his performance against Nakathila should not permanently ban him from consideration.
Will Shakur dazzle or depress the next time out?
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