Shakur Stevenson apologized to his fans on Twitter following his 12-round shutout of Jeremiah Nakathila on Saturday night.
Stevenson considers himself the best defensive fighter in boxing and displayed those skills versus Namibia’s Nakathila. The WBO interim junior lightweight champion recognizes, however, that he didn’t do enough on offense to satisfy viewers who watched what amounted to an uninspiring points victory over an unknown underdog.
The 23-year-old Stevenson was a 50-1 favorite versus Nakathila and the scorecards justified those wide odds. All three judges – Lisa Giampa, Patricia Morse Jarman and Dave Moretti – scored each round for Stevenson and had him ahead by the same margin, 120-107, when their ESPN main event ended inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
The left-handed Stevenson dropped Nakathila with a right hook toward the end of the fourth round. He also should’ve been credited for knockdowns during the second and 12th rounds that were ruled slips by referee Celestino Ruiz, but Stevenson (16-0, 8 KOs) drew criticism for not being aggressive enough to stop Nakathila (21-2, 17 KOs).
“I really was being a little bit careful cuz, at the end of the day, you’ve gotta realize he got power, too,” Stevenson said during a post-fight press conference. “I started walking forward and like trying to set it up. But like I said, he was real scary. Like, he was real scary. Like, he’ll throw a punch and then lean all the way back or jump all the way back, and try to not give me a rhythm to set up combinations. So, like I said, I’m back in the gym, I’m gonna work harder my next fight and I’m gonna get better and better.”
Stevenson expects to battle WBO 130-pound champ Jamel Herring in his next fight, sometime in September or October. The Newark, New Jersey, native predicted “a massacre” when he encounters Herring (22-2, 11 KOs), a taller, 35-year-old southpaw.
Herring is a more accomplished, skilled fighter than Nakathila, but probably not as powerful a puncher.
“It was an awkward fighter in front of me, real awkward, real scary,” Stevenson said, “and he knew how to do just enough to keep me from jumping on him. But at the end of the day, I’m gonna get back to the gym, I’m gonna work on some things and I’m gonna keep getting better and better. And my next performance gonna be better than this one.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.