That Shakur Stevenson stinkbomb had me irked Thursday after midnight, it kept me awake, and it still gnawed at me the morning after.
OK, so, the game has changed in the last few decades, obviously. All the games have, in all the big leagues. One of the big changes I’ve seen as a Gen Xer, the power of the athlete has increased mightily. Coaches in the big leagues, like the NBA, have bemoaned and/or processed on that topic, how the leverage ratio changed.
Content is king, yeah, but more so single characters are king. And those characters who have elite skill sets can now command salaries many times the annual pay of their coach.
That can and has created imbalanced situations, when an athlete perhaps allows it all to go to his or her head, and believes they know better than the coach. And the GM, maybe the team owner, too….
Yeah, egos have been impacted, as the salaries for the game changers has popped.
I’m talking about all this in the context of that Shakur Stevenson fight on ESPN last night, against Edwin De Los Santos. I’m writing this the morning after, and, I admit, still puzzling it out now, why I was so salty during that bout.
Well, I was salty because it sucked.
Wow, did the internet agree with me there….
I do believe it was largely because it was late, and some of us were a bit cranky, as it was our bedtime, round midnight, when Shakur Stevenson sh*t the bed against De Los Santos, who also shit the bed, for the record.
The stats tell you they wrecked the sheets and comforter…
The morning after, people are still venting about it. And I suspect more processing and venting is going to continue, if Stevenson carries on his anti-PR campaign.
You saw or heard some of his postfight verbiage?
Shakur Stevenson Apologized To Stars, Not Fans
Ok, how he apologized to the A grade stars of today (Terence Crawford) and yesterday (Floyd Mayweather), as well as Andre Ward.. ..All were present in Vegas to see Shakur Stevenson ply his trade and continue to build his profile as a young gun coming into his own, finding his man strength, and moving away from that later period Mayweather style which is alluring to fighters who are thinking about down the line CTE.
No mention of the folks in the stands, or watching at home, so very many of whom announced on X they regretted making the time investment in this Shakur fight. Not sure who's in his ear, PR wise, but maybe try the other ear. Not smart, sir.
Safety First and Occasional Offense Not The Mentality For An Entertaining Fighter
His in-ring styling…..risks are rarely taken, offense in much of most rounds takes secondary status to defense, to making sure the chin doesn’t get checked/wrecked.
Safety first, lots of the time, and yeah, it’s boring to a lot of people, while some secretly are bored but adhere to a smug sanctimony about their bonafides as a real fan, because they appreciate the subtle side of the sweet science and eschew the savagery.
They talk about appreciating watching master class exploits, maybe mostly to advertise their alliance to the talent, and maybe get a like on Twitter?
Bro, I’m not wanting every fight to be Gatti-Ward.
But I tune in expecting to watch a fight. And that includes my expectation that both fighters will do their best to try and win. De Los Santos last night didn’t do that, he came to survive and boast after. Lame.
Stevenson’s volume output…I don’t know, I guess I’m at this point in the story wondering if it’s gonna matter at all. If Shakur Stevenson is going to mull some of that haterade that got splashed on social Thursday into Friday, and decide to stop defending his ego, and start facing harsh truth.
That fight sucked. The lack of offense was glaring, and Stevenson’s not mentioning the fans, the people watching in Vegas and on ESPN, in his “apology” added insult to the injury.
Shakur Stevenson posted this Friday morning:
Basically, another eff you to people who paid their money and or time expecting to be entertained. No, not thinking they would see Ward-Gatti 4…but a frickin’ fight.
Are We Going To Regress, After Seeing Some Positive Vibes in 2023 (ie BIG FIGHTS Get Booked)?
That Shakur Stevenson-De Los Santos fight–here is the quite measured report by the always solid Gayle Falkenthal–got me feeling a certain way, and I believe some of that is because of the worry that boxing being stupid is going to continue.
That into 2024 we will be fed this continuing diet of once every two weeks judging abominations….inactive A listers….more fighting done on social than in rings…etc….and that we won’t in fact move into a “post Mayweather” era where we all acknowledge, Jesus, throwing 15 or 20 punches a round is crap.
Yeah, it’s “pugilism,” it’s “the sweet science,” but it’s fighting, we get moved by watching a great fight. This wasn’t that.
And to then see and hear Shakur Stevenson spin it, and play it off, and invite fans to not watch his fights…This was too much.
I mean, it’s more of some of the same stuff that’s been contributing to a stagnation or deterioration of the product in the last 20 or so years, so maybe this was some sort of tipping point for some folks.
Re: Taking Hits At Boxing Media
Been seeing some fighters, Shakur, and Bud, taking hits at media. We ain’t the issue here.
Our sphere has been circling the drain in those last 20 years, most of us are in it because we love it and we make it work, but it’s not a robust vocational choice for anyone, hate to say it.
Maybe that helps me in the “living in reality” realm because I don’t have big bank clouding my judgement and choices. That could some of what’s messing with Shakur Stevenson. I think it seems obvious also that his distaste for eating punches is so severe, it has made him unable to progress to the level where he was being hyped after his last fight: an ATG.
I think Shakur Stevenson thinks that’s a lock. It may be, he isn't old. But he is 27. You know the history, of what previous generations of fighters were doing at 21, 22…..He's old enough to know better, and do better.
It may be that his just needs some time off, to rest and reset and recharge. Maybe he in his next bout goes back to having a more offensive manner, and regains momentum.
But, he left a bad taste in many, many mouths Thursday night, and if he moves on from this not listening and hearing and finding some validity in the critiques then I’m afraid he won’t meet his full potential as a fighter.
And bigger picture, for the sport. The buzz kill of that main event, that will continue if some harsh reality isn’t put in all the smoothies—Mayweather style patience is good for Floyd, for his brain, etc, but not if we wish to have a flourishing sport. The booth on Thursday night did the fight no favors by not being “harsh” enough in their appraisal.
And that might just be an “it is what it is this is the state of the broadcast world” situation…But Joe Tess and Tim Bradley didn't keep it real, and that's perhaps an element of what I started off talking about. But “the talent” being treated with kid gloves doesn't do the sport any good in the longer term.
Hey…at least the Navarrete-Conceicao fight, right before the Stevenson stink bomb, rocked. There's always bright sides to spotlight! But damn, boxing, you keep finding all the ways to dim it. Be better.