Shakur Stevenson dominated Jamel Herring for the WBO super featherweight title. He’s a great boxer, but how much more can he achieve in his boxing career?
Potential is a word that gets thrown around a lot in boxing and sports in general. There’s always an abundance of fresh talent shooting up the ranks with athletic feats, but the potential isn’t always fulfilled. Shakur Stevenson is one of boxing’s young progressing stars, but can he become an all-time great?
Boxing is full of prospects and contenders, but Stevenson is well beyond those labels at the youthful age of 24. The star from Newark, NJ, is already a two-time champion who turned out his best performance against Jamel Herring on Oct. 23. He has accomplished much at a tender age, but can he keep the success coming?
The simple answer is yes. However, nothing is guaranteed in life. Time is unpredictable, and history is full of cautionary tales.
Many athletes have been considered locks for future stardom after early returns, but plenty have fallen short of elongated fame.
In the NFL, Robert Griffen III and Andrew Luck were tagged as future football Hall-of-Famers, after their rookie seasons in 2012. Fast-forward nine years, and both are out of the NFL after unpleasant outcomes.
Shakur Stevenson is one of the best boxers in the current youth movement and may have the most promise of them all
Many boxers have yielded the same disappointing results.
Juan ‘Baby Bull’ Diaz was the WBA lightweight champion at 20 years old. He reigned as a champion for four years before losing in 2008 to Nate Campbell for the first time. Before his loss, Diaz became a unified champion but never held a major title again after his first loss.
Diaz isn’t alone in terms of falling short of expectations and initial prominence.
Fighters like David Reid, Jeff Lacy, and Juan Manuel Lopez failed to stand the test of time despite their emphatic amateur and early professional accomplishments. Even Adrien Broner, who was a four-division champion, appeared emptied before the age of 28.
Stevenson thoroughly out-boxed Herring to capture the WBO super featherweight title. The southpaw’s right jab was surgical, his left hand was pulverizing, and his right hook befuddled the veteran Herring. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist embodied all that was expected of him when he shined as an amateur.
But can he keep it up and continue to dominate over the next decade?
The odds of continued greatness are in Stevenson’s favor. His strength has matured, and his boxing I.Q. is beyond his years, but anything can happen to derail the burgeoning champions’ future.
Hopefully, Stevenson won’t experience any of the misfortune of pitfalls of his predecessors. His pedigree and raw, natural gifts supersede those of the previously mentioned boxers. Outside of a catastrophic event, Stevenson would have to sabotage his career for it to go south, much in the manner of Broner.
Stevenson made several poor decisions outside of the ring as a boxing newcomer, but here’s to hoping that he’s attained wisdom from his early faults. He has all the makings of a generational talent. Stevenson needs to keep his fire and focus to ensure that his dreams come true. It’s not an easy task, but he’s already a good part of the way to securing his boxing legacy.