Shakur Stevenson: A Lot to Prove
When it comes to the emerging featherweight boxing star “Fearless” Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KO’s), there is no question that he has laid out some mighty goals for himself. So far, the New Jersey native is off to a good start. He’s undefeated, well-rounded and has already captured the vacant WBO world featherweight title in a very personal grudge match with Joet Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KO’s).
In his last outing on June 9, Fearless successfully breached the super featherweight division and walked away liking how he performed there. So when looking for his next opponent, Stevenson will be perusing the menu for both the 126 and 130lbs weight classes. Naturally, he would want to ink a contract with a belt-holding fighter in either division.
IRON SHARPENS IRON
While Stevenson talks a big game, he is fully aware that he still has a great deal to prove. One has to look no further than his close supporting cast to understand how it’s easy for him to remain grounded. He is managed by music mogul turned notable boxing entity J Prince, along with former two division world champion Andre “SOG” Ward.
Not to mention the regular attention and tutelage that Stevenson receives from WBO world welterweight champion Terrence “Bud” Crawford (36-0, 27 KO’s). Developing his craft in such close proximity to these accomplished athletes has had an appropriate humbling effect on Stevenson.
“I think it makes me a lot better because it’s the people you surround yourself with. I surround myself with top tier fighters and top tier people. I think that helps a lot as far as me getting better. Seeing some of the stuff that Terence do and me actually wanting to try some of that stuff, so I think that it helps a lot.”
“…I feel that I am a real good thinker, I feel like some of those guys are real good thinkers but I can’t say that I am better than any of them guys. Because them guys are like top tier guys and I still haven’t proven myself yet. I still got a lot more to prove.”
Luckily, Stevenson considers himself to be an overall student of the game and has learned lessons for in and out of the ring.
“I done seen certain stuff; like I seen the fighters that do stuff outside the ring like go party. Like, I done been around close and personal, I done did it too! And I also been around great fighters like Andre Ward and those kind of guys. So I think that me just taking stuff that they do and want to do the good side. Like wanting to do what Andre Ward and Terence Crawford and them guys do. I think that that helps me a lot.”
“…you just start to think to yourself what: do you want to be? Do you want to have fun now or you want to live the rest of your life as champion and have fun when you are older? I realized I’d rather have fun when I am retired, I’m done with the sport and made a bunch of millions. Because having fun right now is not going to help my career, it’s going to hurt my career.”
Yet, just as Fearless can recognize the talent of his handlers, he also can and does appreciate the ability of his fellow fighters.
“I think that like when Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns and all those guys came out, this is one of like them eras. I feel like we got big hitters like Tank, you got me, you got Ryan [Garcia], you got Devin [Haney], it’s a lot of hitters here. So, I think that plays a part, I think that we all are going to be special in our own way and at the end of the day I am going to outlast everybody.”
By: Bakari Simpson