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Is Shakur Stevenson Too Fragile To Be Lightweight Champion?

If De Los Santos had a stronger media presence and more overall leverage in the fight, would that same performance on Thursday have earned him the nod?

The newly crowned WBC lightweight champion squeaked out a victory past the heavy handed, game veteran Edwin De Los Santos on ESPN on Thursday evening. Although Stevenson did enough to impress the judges to a points victory, fight fans and onlookers were less than convinced of Stevenson’s dominance.

Whereas Shakur was a force to be reckoned with at 130 lbs., his luster was diminished somewhat by his apparent inability to stand in the kitchen with a strong power punching technician of the same weight. While Stevenson was fighting smaller guys, his durability wasn’t a question. Against De Los Santos on Thursday night, it looked to some as though Shakur was being overly cautious. 

“Not my best performance.”

Stevenson was honest about his disappointment with his performance during the post fight interviews. The power of De Los Santos was obviously giving him problems, and although he wouldn’t admit why, he didn’t deny that he was seriously averse to letting his power shots go. He knew there was heat coming back at him, and Shakur decided to play it safe.

While boxing is a sport in which gladiators put their lives on the line for the entertainment of others, it’s completely understandable that the gladiators have a sense of self-preservation. After all, this is the hurt business. There’s usually no one really looking out for the fighter, unless the fighter brings someone that cares about him. It’s the way it’s always been. Even the sparkling reputation of the WBC can’t negate the corruption in the sport of boxing.

But watching the constant hyping of a fighter throughout most of the majorly funded boxing channels can lead to heavy disappointment when the spectacle doesn’t live up to it. Stevenson acknowledged that he didn’t put on a very entertaining show, but didn’t really elaborate on what he could’ve done better.

After a dominant performance over Mexican rising star “Rayo” Valenzuela, De Los Santos had already made a name for himself as a Dominican star in the sport of boxing. With a victory over Rayo and Stevenson, he could’ve likely cemented himself in the headlines, as Dmitri Bivol did before him when he trounced Canelo Alvarez for every single round of their match.

Honestly, De Los Santos vs. Haney would be a much more interesting fight than Haney vs. Stevenson. It’s what the public would’ve expected to see, as it appeared to many that De Los Santos did enough to win the fight on Thursday. Haney has already weathered the storm against big punchers at 135 lbs. With Devin Haney definitively establishing himself as the undisputed King Of The Lightweights, a match against De Los Santos would be an interesting bit of eventual suspense in the story of Haney’s legacy.

It would’ve added genuine significance.

But instead, the odd, jerky machinations of the lawless sport of boxing manifest themselves again in another unsatisfactory decision. One can only wonder; if De Los Santos had a stronger media presence, a more powerful promoter, and more overall leverage in the fight, would that same performance on Thursday have earned him the nod?

Stevenson vs. De Los Santos II

Unsurprisingly, Stevenson appeared disinterested in rematching De Los Santos. Of course, from a risk-averse mindset, this makes perfect sense. I barely made it out of that one, on to the next. Quickly! 

But if the man really did believe that it wasn’t his best performance, and that he knows that he can do better…why wouldn’t he want to prove it? 

Why won’t Shakur Stevenson rematch Edwin De Los Santos?

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