5 Fights For Shakur Stevenson After Win vs. Robson Conceicao

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIISeptember 24, 2022

5 Fights For Shakur Stevenson After Win vs. Robson Conceicao

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    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JULY 25: Shakur Stevenson poses ahead of The Homecoming: Shakur Stevenson Newark Press Conference for the WBO and WBC super featherweight championship against Robson Conceicao at Prudential Center on July 25, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
    Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

    It was billed as a unified championship fight at 130 pounds.

    And it still was, sort of.

    Now-former WBC/WBO kingpin Shakur Stevenson lost those belts on the scale at Thursday's weigh-in when he missed the magic number by more than a pound and decided not to try and lose the extra weight in order to keep his crowns into Friday night.

    The fight went on and Stevenson still won it as expected, beating ex-Olympic champion Robson Conceicao by unanimous decision in a 12-rounder at the Prudential Center in Stevenson's hometown of Newark, N.J.

    The uber-talented 25-year-old was already chatting about possible climbs to the lightweight division and engaging a resident flock of big-name foes there and beyond anyway, so the voluntary abdication of his thrones only speeds up a would-be star-making process.

    "Everybody at 135 has got to get it," Stevenson said after the fight.

    "Anybody."

    The B/R combat team took in Friday night's fight and compiled a list of five opponents the unbeaten climber could face to enhance his burgeoning aura in his next trip to the ring.

    There are always a lot of moving parts when it comes to boxing—promotional allegiances, mandatory title defenses, etc.—so some of the options are more feasible than others.

    That said, scroll through to see what we came up with and drop a thought or two of your own in the comments section.

5. George Kambosos Jr.

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    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27:  George Kambosos Jr.during his fight with Teofimo lopez for the Undisputed Lightweight title at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 27, 2021 in New York, New York (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    As consolation prizes go, Devin Haney could do a lot worse.

    George Kambosos Jr. already upset one would-be superstar's apple cart 10 months ago when he beat Teofimo Lopez and took the brash New Yorker's trio of lightweight championship belts in a would-be homecoming fight at Madison Square Garden.

    He lost the hardware in a subsequent unification meeting with Haney seven months later, but has a return date with Haney next month that could, with a victory, automatically elevate him to the top spot on Stevenson's prospective hit list.

    It's an unlikely result given the one-sided nature of Haney's win—the American took eight of 12 rounds on two scorecards and 10 of 12 on the other in his foe's home country—but it's also the lone loss on Kambosos' record across 21 pro fights, so it's hardly impossible.

    And because the 29-year-old Aussie worked with Top Rank for both the Lopez and Haney fights, it's no stretch to think a deal with Team Stevenson would be easy to construct.

4. Ryan Garcia

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    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16: Ryan Garcia (R) knocks Javier Fortuna down during their Super Light weight 12 rounds fight at Crypto.com Arena on July 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sye Williams/Getty Images)
    Sye Williams/Getty Images

    Here's another that could easily be a No. 1 option, pending circumstances.

    Ryan Garcia is both an unbeaten fighter and social media powerhouse, a dual status that puts him atop the list of several fighters within shouting range of 135 pounds.

    Stevenson has suggested a showdown could make him a pay-per-view star, similar to the way Floyd Mayweather Jr. crossed over when he met Oscar De La Hoya in 2007—a fight that was the most-purchased PPV boxing event of all time before Mayweather's subsequent fights with Manny Pacquiao (2015) and Conor McGregor (2017).

    "I could become a big star way outside of boxing,” Stevenson told FightHype.

    "I think Ryan is a great fighter. I’m not going to say nothing bad about Ryan. He’s somebody I could fight where I could turn into a pay-per-view superstar. All he’s got to do is keep winning, and even if he do lose, he’s got to bounce back and just make his name sound out there. He’s got to have a good name out there for himself."

    All that said, the proposition is slightly less feasible thanks to Garcia's move past the lightweight division for his last two fights, for which he weighed 138.75 and 140, respectively, and a subsequent declaration that he was “not going back down to 135 for nothing."

    Will Stevenson's arrival change his mind? Stay tuned.

3. Gervonta Davis

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Gervanto Davis wins the fight against Rolando Romero during the WBA World Lightweight Championship on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn of New York City, United States on May 28, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun CoÅkun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
    Tayfun CoÅkun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

    Like Garcia, the prospect of a Stevenson bout with Gervonta Davis is tantalizing.

    But it's conditional in a couple ways, too.

    First, Davis has long been aligned with Mayweather and the Premier Boxing Champions apparatus when it comes to matchmaking and promoting his fights, which has essentially rendered him a non-factor, and vice versa, when it comes to fighters working with Top Rank.

    Should that relationship change or should the teams find a middle negotiating ground, as happened with Mayweather's fight with Pacquiao, then the idea of a Stevenson-Davis duel becomes more realistic. And Stevenson has said he relishes the challenge.

    "I feel like me and Tank are two special fighters, and we’re going to end up being the best of the best, and we’re going to have to fight," he told Fight Hub TV. "Yeah, I’m more skillful than Tank. He might not like me saying it, but I feel like it’s the truth. I feel like I’m a more skillful fighter than he is. I don’t go down in rounds. I come back.

    “I’m with it; I’m down. I think that’s the biggest fight in the sport of boxing."

    Second, and more importantly, Davis is now set to stand trial in December for multiple misdemeanor counts stemming from a hit-and-run crash in Baltimore in November 2020.

    A judge this week rejected a plea deal that would have given him a one-year suspended sentence with two months of home confinement and work release, for charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury and damage to property, driving on a revoked license and running a red light.

2. Vasyl Lomachenko

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11: Vasiliy Lomachenko (L) and Richard Commey (R) exchange punches during their fight for the WBO intercontinental lightweight championship at Madison Square Garden on December 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
    Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

    All of a sudden, Vasyl Lomachenko is a grizzled lightweight veteran.

    Seems not long ago that the amateur superstar turned pro, challenged for a 126-pound title in his second bout and racked up championships in three weight classes within his first 12.

    But it's been a tumultuous few years for the Ukrainian star, now 34.

    He lost his claim on 135-pound supremacy in a pandemic-prompted Las Vegas bubble in October 2020 and has fought just twice since (winning both) while also spending time in his home country to fight against invading forces from neighboring Russia.

    He's still on the mind of division's big players, however.

    A bout with fellow Top Rank client Devin Haney has been discussed as a possibility if Haney gets by his aforementioned rematch with Kambosos in October, and Stevenson had been considering the idea even before the botched weigh-in against Conceicao.

    "We can do that fight whenever. He’s a big enough name,” Stevenson told Thaboxingvoice in July. “He’s got a big name, and he’s been in the pound-for-pound rankings. You’ve got to respect him for that. We can make that fight happen at the beginning of next year."

    Stevenson and Lomachenko both stand 5'7" and the younger man would have a 2.5-inch edge (68" to 65.5") in reach. Neither is known for one-punch KO power and both are masters of footwork and other elements of ring generalship.

    "We’re about the same size anyway," Stevenson said. "I’m so confident in myself.

    "They say, ‘He’s cocky.’ I don’t care because I feel like I can beat anybody; I don’t care who it is. They can ask me anybody on the planet earth; I’m going to tell you I can beat them because I can figure out a way to win."

1. Devin Haney

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    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: Devin Haney of the United States lands a punch to George Kambosos Jr of Australia during the World Lightweight Championship bout between George Kambosos Jr. of Australia and Devin Haney of the United States at Marvel Stadium on June 05, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    To the victor, or in this case the champion, go the spoils.

    And for these purposes, that means Devin Haney.

    The 23-year-old California native holds all four significant lightweight title belts after defeating Kambosos in June, and, presuming a win in their return bout, he'll be the guy anyone looking to add hardware at 135 is going to have to deal with.

    That means, given this week's events, that a Stevenson bout is a likely occurrence at some point and it'll force at least a temporary hold on the two men's friendship.

    “Of course. That is a huge fight to be made one day," Haney told FightHype.

    "At the end of the day we all know that this is a business. We’re real good friends, we talk often, and when the time comes is when the time comes. But it’s gonna make sense for me and for him and we’re gonna make a huge fight for the fans when it happens.”

    Haney, who's weighed 135 or less for 19 of his 28 bouts, is an inch taller (5'8" to 5'7") and has a three-inch edge (71" to 68") in reach over Stevenson, but both have above-average hand speed and defensive skills and similar KO rates—Haney's is 53.57 percent to Stevenson's 50.

    And Stevenson's game recognizes Haney's game.

    "Devin’s very dominant, just like me," he told Fight Sports.

    "We both dominate. I feel like that’s going to be a great fight."

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