Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Was Victory Over Harutyunyan Stevenson's Swan Song With Top Rank?

The story leading up to undefeated three-division world champion Shakur Stevenson's bout against Artem Harutyunyan on July 6th was his first title defense as the WBC World Lightweight champion.  Before a hometown crowd, Stevenson put forth a dominant performance, skillfully out Boxing Harutyunyan over twelve rounds to retain his world title. 

While this observer summed up what occurred at the Prudential Center in Stevenson's hometown of Newark, NJ,  there is more to the story, which was omitted from the preview penned by yours truly last week, but was not done so as a means of ignoring on my part. It was simply something that I chose to hold off discussing until after the fight. Just what am I referring to? The fact that this fight and what turned out to be the latest successful, lopsided outing for Stevenson, was the final bout under his current promotional agreement with Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum's Top Rank Inc. Normally, I do my best to try and avoid discussing these types of issues involving what could be a parting of ways between a fighter and a promoter. The reason for this is certainly not out of fear to discuss such subjects, but frankly such situations, which are firmly in the realm of the business end of the sport, tend to often resemble conflicts that one would see play out on a “Reality TV” program, only thanks in part to the age we are living in, such disputes/differences of opinion tend to now play out across social media platforms as well as others methods of communication. 

Although this may be entertaining for some, I personally have a hard time, despite my best efforts,  following it all, much less being able to discern what is fact, fiction, or simply folks blowing off steam. In this case, while there may not be much in the way of public spats between fighter and promoter, there is a true conundrum that may not be easily answered. 

Shakur Stevenson is a truly gifted fighter that may ultimately go on to be regarded as a generational talent. The problem for him and anyone who promotes him is he may be in a rare category where he might be too good, for his own good. What do I mean by that dear reader? Stevenson just might be one of those fighters that fighters in and around his weight class, and to be more specific, those who handle those fighters from a managerial and promotional standpoint as a high risk, low reward scenario. In that the risk of defeat against someone with the elusive, crafty type of style that Stevenson has is obviously high because he has proven to be a difficult puzzle to solve thus far. Furthermore, where the low reward aspect enters the equation is Stevenson, though extremely talented and highly skilled, has not been the type of fighter to put himself at risk for the entertainment of a crowd attending his fights or those who tune in to watch his fight through streaming or traditional platforms, nor should he for the mere sake of entertainment value. The main objective in the sport of Boxing and why it is known as “The Sweet Science" is after all, to hit and not be hit. Something that Stevenson has been nearly flawless executed so far in his unbeaten career.

What might be most troublesome for Stevenson in terms of his negotiating position both in trying to secure more lucrative paydays as well as in securing a long-term agreement with a promoter like Bob Arum and a selling point to the public, despite his domination, is he has seemed more content to box his way to victories via the judges scorecards than looking for a victory inside the distance via knockout or stoppage. The most recent example of this was his fight against Artem Harutyunyan where, despite his confidence before the fight as well as indicating to his corner in the middle of the fight that he would stop Harutyunyan, he seemed for lack of a better term, to take his foot off the gas as the fight progressed even as there were points throughout where it seemed like if he pressed the issue more, he may have been able to stop Harutyunyan. While part of this should be attributed to the “Game" effort of Harutyunyan, who never stopped trying to turn things in his favor, it is not a positive for any fighter competing in a world championship bout as the main event attraction in their hometown to hear what should be an enthusiastic crowd, voicing their dissatisfaction with what they are seeing by booing the fighter they paid to see, despite a dominant, one-sided performance that has become a Stevenson trademark. 

Whether or not the now promotional free agent and WBC World Lightweight champion decides to stay with Arum, the promoter he has been aligned with since the beginning of his professional career, remains to be seen, but the need to showcase all his God given attributes, and do so in a way that will drum up support for him from the public, increase ratings,where both he and his promoter will make top dollar, and most importantly, to convince other star fighters in and around the same weight division to take the risk in fighting him. Without finding what is a delicate balance between showcasing his skills and doing so where it maximizes his value, the conundrum Stevenson now finds himself in will continue to follow him. It is  a shame because Shakur Stevenson should be appreciated for the outstanding fighter he is turning out to be.

“And That's The Boxing Truth." 

The Boxing Truth®️ is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on the following Social Media Platforms:

X: (Formerly Twitter) www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BeauDenison1   

Threads: www.threads.net/@BeauDenison1  

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/BeauDenison1  

No comments:

Post a Comment