LAS VEGAS – One of boxing’s best-known promoters says a 22-year-old American champion in his stable has the potential to be the next Floyd Mayweather.
Bob Arum, the founder of Top Rank, has many elite athletes on his roster – from pound-for-pound caliber fighters like Vasyl Lomachenko and Naoya Inoue, down to teenage sensations like Xander Zayas.
But Shakur Stevenson, who is already a WBO featherweight champion after only 13 bouts, has a tremendous upside, Arum says, as he has the defensive prowess of Floyd Mayweather, but with superior attacking ability.
“It’s an innate skill that Floyd had – he was a wonderful defensive fighter,” Arum told Business Insider. “He could make the opponent miss consistently and it was very hard to hit him. It was his great strength.”
According to Arum, Stevenson is like a mirror-image of Mayweather because while the retired fighter was an orthodox boxer, the younger athlete is a southpaw.
“Floyd was an orthodox fighter, which means you’re a right-handed fighter,” Arum said. “Shakur Stevenson is a southpaw, but he’s a mirror image of Floyd Mayweather.
“When I first marveled at Floyd’s ability, and I saw Shakur, [I thought], ‘My God, it’s like the mirror! The right hand and the left hand, it’s Floyd Mayweather!’
“I think Shakur may even exceed Mayweather’s accomplishments because I think he is going to develop not only as this great defensive fighter, which he is, but will have a better offensive arsenal than Floyd had. There’s a tremendous upside to Shakur.”
Stevenson next fights on March 14 against Colombian Miguel Marriaga at The Theatre, inside Madison Square Garden. It will be the first defense of his featherweight championship.
The New Jersey-born Stevenson has fought 13 times so far in his professional career, winning all 13 with seven knockouts. He previously won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
After that, Stevenson is one of a number of athletes Arum is looking to take on the road, as he hopes to open boxing up to other markets.
“One of the things we’re planning to do with him is showcase his talent in different places in the world, and make him a big, international star,” Arum said. “That’s something that we are now undertaking.
“The interest in boxing around the world is tremendous now. So many fights are going to be in places that one wouldn’t expect. We started a number of years ago doing big [Manny] Pacquiao fights in Macau [China].
“It was relatively easy because they were willing to do the fight on a Sunday morning which coincided with prime time in the United States.”
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