Shakur Stevenson doesn't believe anyone is on or near his level, not even the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.
However, the former two-division world champion is picking Devin Haney to dominate Vasiliy Lomachenko next month in their battle for 135-pound supremacy.
Despite reports the Las Vegas-based Haney was exploring a move up to the junior welterweight division limit of 140-pounds after the Lomachenko fight, the 24-year-old revealed he's willing to stay at lightweight for an unbeaten, all-American showdown against Stevenson.
Haney won the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO world titles last June 5 with a dominant 12-round unanimous decision over then-titleholder George Kambosos Jr in Australia. He defended his title in Australia a second time in a mandatory rematch last October 16 in another one-sided victory.
Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) became the WBC's mandatory challenger for one of Haney's four titles (IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO) by knocking out Tokyo's Shuichiro Yoshino in the sixth round on Saturday in the main event of ESPN's three-bout broadcast.
But forget being the mandatory challenger for one belt; Stevenson wants the entire pie.
“Tell him come on,” Stevenson told a group of reporters. “If that’s what he wanna do, I mean, I don’t know why would he watch [the Yoshino fight] and say that? I never seen Devin Haney really even hurt anybody before. He ain’t really got the punching power, so if he watched that he could tell that I could punch. I don’t know what would make him say, ‘Let’s do it.’ Maybe he’s just a competitor. Maybe I just gotta respect that.”
Betting Odds Favor Haney over Lomachenko
Haney (29-0, 15 KOs) , who was born in San Francisco, is a heavy favorite to beat Lomachenko (17-2, 11 KOs) in their ESPN Pay-Per-View main event May 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Haney is currently -250 to win the fight outright, while you can get a +210 on Lomachenko if you believe he'll score the upset.
Stevenson thinks Haney will handle his smaller 35-year-old opponent relatively easily, but thinks it would be a mistake for him to stay at 135.
“He’s gonna smoke Lomachenko,” Stevenson explained. “But he gonna be drained coming back to fight me, and that’s gonna be ugly.”
There are business obstacles that could prohibit Haney-Stevenson from occurring if Haney conquers Lomachenko.
However, Haney's three-bout contract with Bob's Arum Top Rank Inc., which promotes Stevenson, expires after the Lomachenko fight.
This could potentially block Haney-Stevenson from coming to fruition should Haney return to Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, which streamed six consecutive Haney fights from 2019-2021.
Haney owns one of the best jabs in the sport and is also one of boxing's best defensive fighters. Regardless of those attributes, Stevenson believes Haney doesn't stand a chance against his superb skillset.
“I think it’s gonna be easy work,” Shakur said. “I think I’m gonna smoke him. I think I’m gonna shock everybody by smoking him, making it a real easy fight. Everybody’s gonna be like, ‘Damn, dude is who he say he is.’”