Andre Ward Reflects On The Growth Of Shakur Stevenson
During Top Rank’s return to action on June 9, Shakur Stevenson was able to run circles around Felix Caraballo. Stevenson (14-0) ended up winning via TKO after six rounds. The result seemed inevitable following the fact that Stevenson landed 22 shots over 60 punches in the first round compared to Caraballo’s three out of 34.
Stevenson has now won all 14 of his bouts since turning professional in 2017. Many were questioning the fight since Caraballo wasn’t relatively known to a large audience. Stevenson was supposed to face Miguel Marriaga on March 14 inside Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the fight was postponed. His original opponent for the fight, Rafael Rivera, had to back out as a result of visa issues.
Manager Andre Ward didn’t discredit his pupil following the bout but instead praised him considering all the time off he had.
“Man, he did everything he was supposed to do,” Ward stated, via Bad Left Hook. “I mean, Caraballo was tough, he probably put up a tougher fight than a lot of people thought he would. You know, as soon as the name came out about who Shakur’s gonna fight, you see a bunch of people writing and tweeting ‘ah, why is he fighting this guy?’
“It’s the right guy at the right time given the circumstances and Shakur or his team, none of us owe an explanation. He’s a young fighter, he’s developing, you know, I think he has the skill to be an all-time great as he stays focused. But that doesn’t mean you rush that. You take your time with that, you let that develop at the right time and he did what he was supposed to do. He boxed tonight, he dealt with early pressure — never panicked, stayed patient. This the most deliberate and viscous body attack that I’ve seen him put on his whole career.”
Stevenson was able to fight hard and be focused despite the fact he didn’t have his head trainer with him. Kay Koroma was not able to attend the event due to being in contact with Mikaela Mayer, who tested positive for COVID-19. Her bout ended up being canceled as a result.
Ward (32-0), a former WBA, IBF, WBO, and The Ring Light-Heavyweight Champion, sees a lot of Floyd Mayweather in Shakur Stevenson. He is not alone, as Bob Arum believes the same thing. Stevenson, the WBO Welterweight Champion, is now looking to face a fighter like Josh Warrington. It is unknown the status of future fights for Stevenson as a result of the coronavirus, and the fact that he might have injured his hand.
“Yeah, he’s at the doctor’s right now getting checked out so hopefully, it’s nothing,” Ward continued to say after the fight. “Fractures, microfractures, that kind of stuff for a fighter is normal. I hope it’s nothing major. He wants to get back in there as soon as possible. So hopefully it’s just a punch he landed the wrong way and caught his thumb in an awkward position, but hopefully, it’s nothing.”
Stevenson has since tweeted that he has been cleared by the doctors.
The next few months are critical for Stevenson, and Ward will be making sure everything is set for when the competition increases once again.