NEWARK, New Jersey – Bob Arum has a more optimistic perspective on Shakur Stevenson facing Devin Haney or Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2023 than he does on sending Stevenson into what would be a fascinating fight versus Gervonta Davis.
Arum’s company, Top Rank Inc., promotes Stevenson, Haney and Lomachenko, which could make matching them sometime next year an easier task than putting together a Stevenson-Davis fight. The 90-year-old promoter simply doesn’t think Davis’ handlers at Mayweather Promotions would want him to box Stevenson now that the former featherweight and junior lightweight champion has moved into Davis’ division.
“I don’t think Ellerbe would want ‘Tank’ Davis to fight Shakur,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “Tracking what they’ve been doing, there’s a tendency on their part, because they’re following Mayweather’s game plan, to stay away, at this point, from any fighter that has a good chance of beating ‘Tank’ Davis. And that’s Shakur. And that’s Haney or [Ryan] Garcia. They’re not running to make any of those fights.”
The 23-year-old Haney (28-0, 15 KOs) is boxing’s fully unified lightweight champion and could afford Davis a chance to win legitimate lightweight world titles. The Henderson, Nevada resident will defend his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts against Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. (20-1, 10 KOs) in an immediate rematch October 16 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
The 25-year-old Stevenson (19-0, 9 KOs) lost his WBC and WBO 130-pound titles at the scale Thursday, thus he and Davis would fight only for Davis’ secondary WBA 135-pound championship. Stevenson soundly beat Brazil’s Robson Conceicao (17-2, 8 KOs) on points Friday night in a main event ESPN televised from Prudential Center in Stevenson’s hometown.
Stevenson emphasized following his victory over Conceicao that he is willing to fight Davis or anyone else in the lightweight division.
“I think whoever I fight it’s gonna be a big fight,” Stevenson said. “Whoever I fight, as far as anybody in that lightweight division, it’s all big names. But I’m down to fight whoever. I’m wit it. Whatever they wanna put in front of me, I’m wit that.”
Representatives for the 27-year-old Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) and the 24-year-old Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs), of Victorville, California, have discussed what would be a marketable pay-per-view bout between the popular knockout artists. Arum assumes, though, that Davis will box a lesser opponent at some point in December, if the Baltimore native’s legal troubles don’t delay his return to the ring (https://www.boxingscene.com/gervonta-davis-faces-dec-12-trial-date-hit-run-judge-rejects-plea-agreement--169247).
“Now, OK, if they wanna put ‘Tank’ Davis in with lighter competition, that’s their choice,” Arum said. “They’re not doing anything wrong. They don’t owe anybody anything by not wanting to fight those three guys. But again, that’s the Mayweather plan and you can’t say anything other than it really worked for Mayweather.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.