WBO lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) and #8 Artem Harutyunyan are close to having a deal done to meet on ESPN on July 6th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Shakur Has Some Explaining to Do

This is a disappointing choice for Shakur, but many believe the Twitter star is allergic to risk, which is usual for him.

Shakur bragged recently about how he wanted to fight a high-level opponent, but instead, he rejected the dangerous Raymond Muratalla, the #2 contender, in favor of Harutyunyan.

Recently beaten 33-year-old Harutyunyan (12-1, 7 KOs) had been rumored to be one of the two fringe contenders the 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur would be facing, but now it’s out in the open.

Mike Coppinger broke the news of the Stevenson vs. Harutyunyan fight being finalized for July 6th.

Harutyunyan gave Frank Martin all he could handle last July in a 12-round unanimous decision in a contest he’d been winning through the first half of the action.

He almost had the unproven Martin beat, making him look like an unskilled, musclebound oaf before running out of petrol in the seventh. Harutyunyan has excellent technical skills, but his cardio is purely awful.

If Harutyunyan had better conditioning, he would have won the fight, and made it look easy because he was levels above Martin early on when he was at full strength.

Given Shakur’s last fight against Edwin De Los Santos in November of last year, he has much to prove to fans. Shakur ran from De Los Santos the entire fight, showing no willingness to mix it with powerful punches and just doing the absolute minimum to win a decision.

The Future of Boredom?

After the contest, Shakur and his promoters at Top Rank blamed his performance on a couple of injuries. However, he’d fought the same way in four of his fights, and there weren’t any injury excuses after those bouts.

This will be the 26-year-old Shakur’s final fight on his contract with Top Rank, and it’s expected that he will walk, looking for another promoter to hook up that can give him the fights he wants.

Shakur has designs of fighting these four at lightweight:

Gervonta Davis
Emanuel Navarrete
Vasily Lomachenko
William Zepeda

Signing with PBC likely won’t help Shakur get a fight against Tank Davis because they can’t twice the arm of the Baltimore native to fight him, given that he’s shown no interest in that match-up.

Arum’s Change of Heart?

If Top Rank re-signs Shakur, they’re going to have to find out what to do with him because he’s failed to become the star that they’d hoped he would be after they signed him following the 2016 Olympics.

Shakur’s boring, safety-first style of fighting is one that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum used to rail about when he used to promoter two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux a decade ago. However, Rigondeaux was far more entertaining to watch than Shakur, and it makes one wonder if Arum has become more patient with non-entertaining fighters.


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