Following Shakur Stevenson’s easy win on Tuesday night over Felix Caraballo on ESPN, Stevenson’s co-manager and ESPN boxing commentator Andre Ward appeared on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt to discuss the fighter’s future and continue the hype from both network and promoter.
Ward said that while Stevenson (14-0, 8 KO) gives his manager credit and says he takes things from his game, it’s not that simple, as Stevenson takes things from Floyd Mayweather, Terence Crawford, and others as well.
“Shakur is a student of the game, so he takes a little bit from everybody, but he stays true to who he is. He’s the total package,” Ward said. “He is very giving on the offensive side, he loves to let his hands go. But very stingy and selfish on the defensive side, he doesn’t like to give up a lot of free shots. That’s how you last in the game.”
Ward also said he doesn’t think the 22-year-old Stevenson really has a ceiling in the sport, and credits the young fighter with staying focused.
“That’s the scary part, but also the encouraging part, being a big brother to him and obviously a co-manager,” he said. “He’s a student of the game. He watches boxing, he’s still open to learning, even though he’s a world champion and a silver medalist.
“You’d be surprised the amount of guys that are at the top of the heap that don’t watch boxing and don’t learn anything. They think they know it all. He’s not that guy. He’s also a gym rat. He stays in the gym, he lives a Spartan lifestyle. Man, the sky’s the limit. He’s only going to get better, he’s still a baby in the game.”
Van Pelt pushed Ward to name an opponent that might give Stevenson a real test, which we frankly haven’t seen thus far, and Stevenson — also frankly — hasn’t really fought a true world-class level opponent to date.
Ward said he’s not concerned about any particular opponents, though he admits that in boxing, “one punch can turn your lights out and change your pay scale.”
“His biggest opposition is himself. He’s the only person that can hurt him,” Ward said. “He’s focused, he’s young, he’s maturing right before our eyes. He’s learning hw to deal with the pressures of family, the pressures of being on a world stage, making money, people knowing what you make. That’s the only concern.
“We talk about this a lot. I’m not concerned as if I feel like he’s going to go off the cliff tomorrow. But that’s always something to manage, himself. As long as he manages himself, everything else is gonna take care of itself.”