ATLANTA – Shakur Stevenson doesn’t agree with those that contend Jamel Herring should’ve been afforded an opportunity to continue in their one-sided junior lightweight title fight Saturday night.
Stevenson is certain that Herring would’ve suffered unnecessary punishment if their bout went on for two-plus rounds, all the way until the final bell. Referee Mark Nelson stepped between them and stopped their fight, with Herring still standing, at 1:30 of the 10th round at State Farm Arena.
It seemed highly unlikely by then that Herring, who bled from cuts over both eyes, would mount the type of comeback required to stop Stevenson in a fight Herring trailed by huge margins on all three scorecards. Stevenson led by nine points on the cards of judges Glenn Feldman (90-81) and Rocky Young (90-81) and seven points on judge Edward Kanner’s card (89-82).
Between his huge lead, the two cuts Cincinnati’s Herring suffered and the flush punches the former champion had continually taken, Stevenson (17-0, 9 KOs) wasn’t the least bit surprised Nelson halted the action.
“Oh, no, no,” Stevenson said during his post-fight press conference. “No, I definitely wasn’t surprised. I knew this was my coming-out party. I knew once they upped the level on me, I’m gonna up the level on them. Like I said, I feel like when I seen the blood, I just smelled blood and I was gonna pick it up and it was just gonna get worse and worse. You seen him hurt, you seen me hitting him with great shots and they did the right thing, or it was gonna get bad in there.”
The 24-year-old Stevenson set out to perform in a more entertaining way against Herring (23-3, 11 KOs) because he took criticism for boxing cautiously in his previous appearance – a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Namibia’s Jeremiah Nakathila (21-2, 17 KOs) on June 12 in Las Vegas. Stevenson stood his ground against Herring from the opening bell, took the infrequent shots Herring landed well and stopped a reigning world champion who attempted to defend his WBO 130-pound crown for the fourth time.
The left-handed Stevenson, a former WBO featherweight champ from Newark, New Jersey, became just the second opponent to stop Herring inside the distance. Russian southpaw Denis Shafikov previously beat Herring by 10th-round technical knockout in a lightweight fight that took place in July 2016 in Reading, Pennsylvania.
“It was really my mindset, at the end of the day,” Stevenson said. “My mindset was, ‘I’m going in here to take the belt. I’m not gonna make this close. I’m not gonna make this a fight that everybody expecting [it] to be. I wanna dominate. I’m gonna dominate and fight how I dominate all my fights, and nothing gonna change with anybody in front of me. I don’t care who it is.’ ”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.