The bar is set pretty high for Shakur Stevenson. He’s heard the comparisons to Floyd Mayweather and, so far, he’s done his best imitation. Live boxing returned to Las Vegas on Tuesday and Stevenson won his 14th straight fight to begin his pro career in convincing fashion. Stevenson knocked out Felix Caraballo in the sixth round for the eighth knockout of his career. Despite the dominance, the comparisons to Mayweather may be a little unfair at this point.
Shakur Stevenson’s boxing career
Shakur Stevenson took up boxing at the age of 5 and hasn’t slowed down. As an amateur, he qualified for the 2016 USA boxing team at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Stevenson represented the team and made it to the gold-medal round. In a bout against Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba, Stevenson lost and came back with a silver medal.
On Feb. 9, 2017, Stevenson made his professional boxing debut against Edgar Brito. Stevenson won in a fifth-round technical decision in a messy bout where headbutts from Brito were almost as common as his punches. Brito’s intentional headbutts, according to The Ring, forced the bout to be stopped in the fifth round due to cuts on Brito’s face from the repeated butts.
Stevenson then won six of his next nine bouts via knockout. He has held the WBO featherweight title since 2019. He defeated Joet Gonzalez on Oct. 26, 2019, to claim the vacant WBO featherweight title. Stevenson defeated Gonzalez in a unanimous decision.
Stevenson dominant in win over Caraballo
Boxing fans who were starving for some live action were treated to it Tuesday night when Shakur Stevenson went up against Felix Caraballo at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Stevenson, a very talented boxer who has a reputation for being a very good defensive boxer, came out on the offensive.
Stevenson knocked down Caraballo (13-2-2) in the first round and never let up. “I came in to get him out of there,” Stevenson said in an ESPN article. “I hit him with everything I could early on, wobbled him a bunch of times. He took a lot of punishment. I started realizing the head shots weren’t going to get him out of there, so I started going to the body.”
Stevenson put an end to the bout when he landed a left to the stomach of Caraballo that sent him to his knees. Through three rounds, according to Yahoo! Sports, Stevenson outlanded Caraballo 66-7, clearly showing he can go on the offensive. “I had been hearing all this talk, ‘Oh, he’s not really offensive like Floyd; his defense is good but he’s not an offensive fighter,’” Stevenson said. “That got to me, to be honest with you. I wanted to show everybody it’s not just my defense, it’s my offense also.”
Comparisons to Floyd Mayweather
Bob Arum knows his boxing. Arum has been around the sport for years. He is the founder of Top Rank, a boxing promotion company based in Las Vegas. Prior to Shakur Stevenson’s Tuesday night fight with Felix Caraballo, Arum had nothing but praise for the young, left-handed Stevenson. He compared him to Floyd Mayweather in a Yahoo! Sports article and said he can see Stevenson even surpassing the boxing legend.
“Shakur is, and I said it when we did our first fight, a future star in the sport of boxing, a future superstar. I look at him as the southpaw version of Floyd Mayweather, and I think he will exceed the performances by Floyd. I just think he’s a rare, rare talent, and I think that he’s a young man who’s growing in size and so I think 130 pounds will be a brief stop in his career because he’s growing into a welterweight and maybe even a junior middleweight.”
Stevenson is clearly talented. He’s only 22. Although the comparison to Mayweather is high praise, it’s not justified at this point. Mayweather is one of the greatest fighters ever, going 50-0 in his career. While Stevenson should be flattered, the comparisons might be a bit premature.