The arrival of Shakur Stevenson in the lightweight division came more unexpectedly than anyone expected, but it added excitement to what many consider to be the best boxing division. Stevenson lost his unified heavyweight title last week – more on that in a moment – and is now an ex-champ looking for the biggest problems in his new division.
After beating Robson Conceicao on Friday at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, Stevenson is now a lightweight.
The division is made up of undisputed champion Devin Haney, co-champion Gervonta Davis and a host of other seasoned fighters such as Vassily Lomachenko. Stevenson is going to fight everyone there, he says, but he’s not as high in the division as most.
“Everyone else thinks this division is going to be very hard for me and it’s going to get a lot harder and all that,” Stevenson told Sportzshala Sports on Tuesday. “But to be honest, I feel like I’m on a different level and no matter what weight class I’m in, I’m going to dominate.
“I will get more credit for beating these guys, but to be honest, I feel like it’s overrated. I feel like this is an overrated division. Everyone overestimates it and thinks it is the biggest and worst division in the world. I dominated 126, I dominated 130, and 135 won’t make any difference.”
Even before he defeated Oscar Valdez in Las Vegas on April 30 to unify the two super featherweight belts, he knew a move to lightweight was inevitable. His body grew, he gained muscle mass, and cutting weight became more and more difficult.
That’s why he talked so much about cutting weight before the Conceicao fight. But even Stevenson had no idea how hard it would be. He lost 12 pounds in two days and his body shut down. He was annoyed by the reaction he got in many corners due to his inability to hit the nose with 130 pounds.
It was a big homecoming fight for him and he desperately wanted to gain weight.
“I was tense So bad,” Stevenson said. “I was so angry. I was so angry. I knew [this might happen] because [the cuts] got harder and harder and harder. Honestly, this was my hardest fighting week. I have never had a harder week of combat than this one. I literally had to drop 12 pounds in two days.”
Stevenson weighed 131.6 and decided not to try contracting again because his body was failing. Fighters who lose weight have the ability to come back later and put it back on after trying to lose even more. New Jersey rules allowed him two hours, but he passed. He knew that in a month it could happen.
The reaction on social media was bewildered, and Stevenson used his wealth to avoid doing so.
“They said I was buying the advantage,” said Stevenson, who paid Conceicao a six-figure sum to get him to keep fighting. “But how could I buy an advantage when I lost 12 pounds from Tuesday to Thursday. I tried, believe me, to get that very latest 1.6. I did my best, but I couldn’t take it off.”
Thus, he lost his titles, although he received another advantage. Making it light weight, at least for now, will be easier for him than for many of his peers. He said that in the near future: “I will take the lightest weight and be the strongest and freshest in the division.”
But he didn’t challenge anyone because he said he would end up fighting everyone. He wants Haney to retain the undisputed title when he defends against ex-champ George Kambosos Jr in a rematch on October 15 in Australia.
He really enjoyed the jokes between his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank and Davis’ promoter Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions.
Ellerbe reacted to the news in which Arum said that Ellerbe would not want Davis to fight Stevenson. Ellerbe took to Twitter and tagged Arum, saying, “… I understand that you’re just promoting your boyfriend like you should. As you know, building an attraction is damn difficult. Whatever we’re doing here is definitely working because Tank Davis is bigger than anyone on your TOTAL Top Rank list except Fury. Data”.
This followed a Twitter battle involving Ellerbe, Matchroom Sport’s Eddie Hearn and DBE’s Lou DiBella, along with several journalists.
“I don’t pay attention to what they do, but it’s definitely weird,” Stevenson said. “These promoters think they are fighting. We are fighters, and they go back and forth, as if they were fighting. Leonard Ellerbe, every time someone says something about his fighter, he will come up with whatever he thinks sounds good to come back. I’m not worried about any of this.
According to him, he is going to look for the best fights. And if some of the fighters come up before he gets to them at lightweight, he said he’ll eventually see them at 140 pounds.
“I’m going to stay active and fight everyone and at the end of the day we’ll see how things turn out,” he said.