By: Hans Themistode
Shakur Stevenson has enjoyed his time fighting under the promotional banner of Top Rank. But, despite his ongoing success, both Stevenson and longtime promoter Bob Arum, are diametrically opposed when it comes to his immediate pugilistic future.
Following a one-sided win over Jeremia Nakathila at the midway point of 2021, Stevenson marched confidently into his showdown against former WBO super featherweight titlist Jamel Herring. Although the crowd at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, vehemently cheered on the former marine, Stevenson effortlessly dissected his man throughout the night.
As the punishment continued, referee Mark Nelson saw enough, putting an end to their showdown in the 10th round. With the victory, Stevenson wrapped his second world title in as many weight classes around his waist.
For his next ring appearance, Arum has floated around the idea of matching up Stevenson with former three-division world champion and current pound-for-pound star, Vasiliy Lomachenko. In the opinion of Stevenson, however, a showdown against the Ukrainian, while intriguing, isn’t at the forefront of his mind.
Considering both men’s track records, if the decision was solely up to the former Olympic silver medalist, he would much rather face off against undefeated WBC 130 pound titlist, Oscar Valdez.
“We seen Lomachenko lose twice,” said Stevenson during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “He beat a lot of great fighters but did we see him lose twice? We did right? How many times did we see Valdez lose? We never seen him lose before.”
Although Lomachenko currently occupies a high standing on most pound-for-pound lists, the former two-time Olympic gold medalist has suffered defeats during his time as a pro.
In only his second professional contest, Lomachenko attempted to become the fastest boxer in history to win a world title. However, though he would rally back in the second half, Lomachenko was handed a split decision loss to Orlando Salido.
For the next six years, Lomachenko outboxed and out-muscled his competition. As a result, he was crowned a world champion in three separate weight classes. Nevertheless, at the tail end of 2020, Lomachenko was surprisingly dethroned by Teofimo Lopez. Since then, the slick hitting southpaw has picked up back-to-back victories over Masayoshi Nakatani and Richard Commey.
Still, regardless of Lomachenko regaining his form, Stevenson believes Valdez has been more impressive as of late.
“Valdez had a great performance with [Miguel] Berchelt, knocked him out and Valdez has never been beat. We saw him [Vasiliy Lomachenko] get in the ring with Teofimo and he looked kind of scared.”
Valdez, 31, sauntered his way to the ring against Berchelt in the first quarter of 2021, attempting to establish himself as a true player at 130 pounds. In his lone appearance as a super featherweight before his showdown against Berchelt, Valdez won a fairly close unanimous decision against journeymen Jayson Velez.
Even with most in the betting market and boxing world counting him out, Valdez had arguably the best performance of his career. The 31-year-old would go on to drop Berchelt a total of three times before registering a knockout of the year contender in the tenth to strip Berchelt of his WBC crown. Recently, Valdez defended his newly won strap against Robson Conceicao.
If Arum were successfully able to lure Lomachenko down to the 130 pound weight limit or convince Stevenson to move five pounds north, the Hall of Fame promoter believes a showdown between them would be box office gold.
While Stevenson isn’t opposed to facing Lomachenko, or anyone else for that matter, if he was given complete autonomy over his career, he would much rather take on Valdez.
“Valdez never lost, I never lost. I’m reaching the prime of my career, he’s in the prime of his career. The best vs. the best.”