The world of boxing is as much a battle of wits outside the ring as it is within it. For rising star Shakur Stevenson, his recent announcement of becoming a promotional free agent post the expiration of his Top Rank contract next year has stirred the boxing community. While he remains open-minded, noting he’s “considering every option possible,” the real question is: What does the future have in store for Stevenson?
The chatter in the boxing alleys suggests he might sign with PBC. Many believe this move could set the stage for the lucrative bout against Gervonta Davis, a fight that has thus far evaded Stevenson. And who could blame him for considering it? With Ryan Garcia pocketing a staggering $30 million against Davis, the financial incentives are hard to overlook. Yet, as with everything in boxing, things are never that straightforward.
Mayweather Promotions’ approach towards Garcia was clear. Garcia, a formidable blend of influencer and boxer, boasting a massive 11 million-strong Instagram fanbase, was viewed as an easy financial win. In contrast, Stevenson, with his 1 million followers, brings a different proposition to the table. He’s no easy opponent; he’s a tenacious defensive boxer. A fight against Davis isn’t just a potential risk to Davis’s winning streak, but it could also endanger Mayweather Promotions’ steady revenue streams.
However, Stevenson’s decisions appear to be motivated by more than just financial gain. In a candid exchange with Cigar Talk, he emphasized, “I’m considering every option possible… I’m willing to talk to anybody that wants to do great business.” Yet, in the same breath, he seemingly contradicts himself by stating he doesn’t truly care about money. This leaves us in a conundrum. What does Stevenson truly seek?
For Stevenson, the term “business” might have layers of meaning. Beyond the monetary allure, it’s about etching his name in the annals of boxing history. His aspirations are clear: to stand shoulder to shoulder with boxing luminaries such as Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, and Terence Crawford. To Stevenson, success transcends financial rewards; it’s about recognition, respect, and creating a lasting legacy in the boxing realm.
This sentiment becomes even more evident when delving into his experience training alongside Terence Crawford in preparation for Crawford’s fight against Errol Spence Jr. It wasn’t the physical rigors that stood out for Stevenson but the intricate mental game, likening sparring sessions to intense “chess matches.” His hunger, Stevenson passionately elaborates, isn’t driven by financial desires. It’s an insatiable quest for greatness and excellence in the sport he loves.
However, observers might view Stevenson’s claims with a hint of skepticism. The juxtaposition of his assertions—that on one side money is inconsequential, and on the other he seeks a promotional deal that offers “business sense”—can be perplexing. Is this a reflection of his complex understanding of the multifaceted boxing world, or is it indicative of deeper contradictions?
As Stevenson charts his future course, he faces a myriad of challenges. While PBC might seem like a pathway to the coveted face-off with Tank Davis, the intricate matrix of sport politics and economics could prove to be an obstacle. Mayweather Promotions, ever so protective of their prodigious asset in Davis, will not easily or hastily put him in the ring against a potential threat like Stevenson.
Stevenson’s journey is emblematic of the larger narrative that plagues many athletes. It’s not just a quest for financial prosperity but a deeper yearning to be remembered—for skill, passion, resilience, and one’s place in the annals of sports history. As he puts it, true satisfaction will come when he solidifies his place among the greats.