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Shakur Stevenson staying at 130, but sees busy top level landscape

Stevenson may have a hard time making a bigger fight any time soon at his new weight.

Shakur Stevenson v Felix Caraballo Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Shakur Stevenson is still recognized as the WBO featherweight titleholder, still listed as champion in their most recent rankings, but his last fight was at 130 pounds, and if you needed any more confirmation that he is moving up, he Tweeted these messages out yesterday:

Stevenson (14-0, 8 KO) hasn’t vacated at 126 but clearly has no intention of fighting there again. Similar may be true of Emanuel Navarrete with the WBO’s 122-pound title, as he looks to be moving up to 126, where it’s possible he’ll get a chance to fight for the belt Stevenson does eventually give up. There’s a good chance all of this is just COVID-related, in that the sanctioning bodies aren’t operating quite at normal speed right now and making it official hasn’t been a priority or whatever.

But at any rate, Stevenson is right that the top guys at 130 seem occupied. Miguel Berchelt just fought on an outlaw mud show in Mexico City, and the WBC titleholder is dialed in for a fight against Oscar Valdez, should Valdez win on July 21 against Jayson Velez. WBO titleholder Jamel Herring is defending against Jonathan Oquendo next week, and there are still designs for him to face Carl Frampton as soon as possible. WBA titleholder Leo Santa Cruz is likely going to be fighting Gervonta Davis (knock on wood) this fall. IBF titleholder Joseph Diaz Jr not only has a contractually obligated rematch with Tevin Farmer, but a mandatory in Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov. And I don’t think Stevenson is dying to fight Rene Alvarado for the WBA’s secondary trinket.

So yes, it could be hard to get a bigger fight at 130 for the time being, but his prospects of doing that at 126 weren’t really any better. Unification with Josh Warrington seemed to be a lost cause, and Stevenson was supposed to fight Miguel Marriaga in a title defense in March. Marriaga’s an OK fighter but not exactly top tier or anything. The best option at 126 for Stevenson seemed to be Jessie Magdaleno, or maybe Michael Conlan, but the latter clearly wasn’t on Top Rank’s agenda for the near future.

Stevenson’s in a bit of a tough spot, and really all he can do instead is keep fighting and wait for a spot to open up, which one will. The Herring-Frampton ordeal seems the most likely to not go through, if you were looking for some odds there.

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