Can Shakur Stevenson become the face of boxing? Breaking down pros, cons, future, of boxing star

Pound-for-pound star Shakur Stevenson is already a two-division world champion but he’s just getting started. On Thursday, December 16, the Newark-born technician looks to win gold in his third weight class when he faces Edwin De Los Santos for the vacant WBC lightweight title. The 12-round bout, plus undercard action, takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas just prior to the Formula 1 debut in the city.

An Olympic silver medallist at the 2016 games in Rio, Stevenson has done everything asked of him as a professional. With every step up in class, the 26-year-old southpaw has maintained complete dominance and no one has come close to beating him. Even world-class opponents such as Jamel Herring and Oscar Valdez struggled to lay a glove on him.

WATCH: Shakur Stevenson vs. Edwin De Los Santos, exclusively on ESPN+

“I definitely enjoy putting hands on people. That’s what I do for a living,” Stevenson told Sky Sports. “I enjoy it, I go in there and have fun. I feel like when I’m having fun, can’t nobody beat me. Me having fun and me at my best, there’s not a fighter on the planet that can beat me. I will pick you apart and beat you up mentally and physically. So I think that I’m one of the best fighters in the sport of boxing. My style is like some of the greatest where we go in there and dominate.”

So just how far can Stevenson go in his career?

Polling The Sporting News’ combat team, Stevenson was compared to the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard and Pernell Whitaker. Both Leonard and Whitaker are former multi-weight world champions with exceptional defensive skills. Like those Hall of Fame legends, Stevenson has incredible speed and his technique is exemplary. 

When he’s on, he’s the smartest man in the room. 

MORE: Where is Shakur Stevenson on the P4P list?

On the downside, Stevenson must work on his consistency. There have been occasions when an early stoppage win looks assured, but he’s taken his foot off the gas and cruised to a lop-sided decision. He also missed championship weight for a bout against Robson Conceicao and was stripped of the WBC, WBO, and Ring Magazine super featherweight titles. The hope is that this mishap was a one-off.

Thus far, Stevenson has adapted to every opponent and environment. If he can balance everything out, the quick-fisted star will be near-unstoppable. Vanquishing the likes of Haney, Davis, and Vasiliy Lomachenko will also help his cause and create an unforgettable legacy. That is for another time, something to put in the drafts. For now, he is forging his own path to the top. 

All eyes will be on Stevenson on what will be a rare Thursday night appearance. Can he impress against De Los Santos? If so, greatness awaits. 

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