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Shakur Stevenson Too Young and Fast, Gets TKO-10 Win Over Jamel Herring

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Sometimes will and courage can over-ride a wide skills edge… but not on Saturday night in Atlanta, on a Top Rank card. Shakur Stevenson had too much hand speed, and the vet Jamel Herring wasn’t able to leverage any perceived advantages at State Farm Arena in a battle of junior lightweights.

In round ten in front of 5,123 patrons, Shakur Stevenson opened up on Herring, whose vision got obscured by some dripping blood. A right hook thumped Herring and his body language told the ref to pull that plug at 1:35 on a fight in which the underdog/champ had very few high spots.

Herring spoke to Bernardo Osuna after, and he gave credit to the kid for being the man. Herring even apologized, to his fellow Marines, and Osuna told him no need for that.

And what’s next?  “I gotta think of my two daughters, with autism,” Herring said, sounding like he’d consider retiring.

Jamel Herring in the ring after being stopped by Shakur Stevenson.

Herring has to hand over the WBO 130 pound strap, after losing his fourth defense.

Herring’s trainer, Bomac, said it was a case of the winner being the younger, faster, sharper model.

Shakur Stevenson gave some thoughts after the triumph. “Around the fifth round, I was landing everything and then he started trying to come on. I smelled blood. I saw he was bleeding and was like, ‘OK, I have to attack the cut. I was trying to touch the cut to make the doctor try and stop it.”

He spoke on his aims moving forward, too. “I want to be a superstar in the sport. I’m here to last. I take my craft very seriously. I’m disciplined.” Also: “There’s only one fight left at the end of the day. It’s the biggest fight at the end of the day. Oscar {Valdez} can’t keep ducking. It’s time for him to fight. There’s nothing else to look forward to. The 130-pound division needs to unify. Let’s get it!”

Shakur Stevenson pretty much had his way with Herring. 24 versus 35, y’all, never mind that Stevenson’s skill basket is laden.

The 24 year old Shakur Stevenson (from Newark, NJ; 16-0 (8 KOs) entering) weighed in at 130 Friday and chatter abounded that he had to dump a lot of weight late in camp. Would his stamina suffer?

The WBO champ Herring (age 35; from Long Island, living in Ohio, 23-2 entering) had a crown to his credit, but wore the underdog tag for this tango, which screened on ESPN. Still, some folks were thinking his experience would get him the heavy-duty upset win.

In the first, SS wasn’t as defensive as we’ve seen before to start. Herring stood his ground against the fellow lefty but the hand speed edge for Shakur Stevenson looked glaring right away. “You gotta commit,” trainer Brian McIntyre told the Marine vet during the rest period. In the lead-up to the fight, Herring had said he’d likely try to bully the younger man, but once inside with him, he wasn’t able to be in command very much at all.

In the second, Herring moved more, but Shakur slowed that down, and you saw Herring’s head snap back, a few times. He needed to change the tenor.

In the third, SS stalked smartly. Combos from Shakur Stevenson had the crowd grooving and the analysts opining that Herring needed to come forward. The left eye of Herring on the brow swelled up a bit.

In the fourth, Herring jabbed and edged forward, the fighters more often clinched up. The jab didn’t bother Shakur but it did upset his offensive rhythm. In the fifth, Shakur flurried, plowed forward and pushed Herring back. Mid round Herring got an energy boost and again kept Shakur from doing what he wanted.

Stevenson’s hands were in Herring’s face too fast for the vet to handle.

In the sixth, Shakur reverted more often to the low volume safety first and second fighter but then he’d rip some power and the connect would look impressive. His right hook was on point. In round seven and eight, Shakur kept on connecting more often than Herring, and thus, winning rounds. Bomac told Herring that Shakur was slowing down. In the ninth, Shakur got busier, from the outside he upped his volume, and Herring got buzzed by an uppercut. A little slice formed on Herring’s right eye… and the doc took a look and said he’s good to go.

Shakur Stevenson piled up combos and Herring said no biggie. And then suddenly it was over. The ref hopped in, after a right hook landed clean and a right follow didn’t get answered by Herring. The new cut was leaking, he wasn’t looking like he had a chance to win… and Mark Nelson ended it, at 1:30.

Promoter Bob Arum, who turns 90 on Dec.8, said this after the main event concluded: “A sensational performance from Shakur Stevenson, who showed why so many think he’s the future pound-for-pound king. Jamel Herring displayed the heart of a champion, but he was in there with an incredible fighter tonight.”

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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