Written by Tré Berry III | 10/24/2021
This bout coming in carried some intrigue with two notable prizefighters at different portions of their career, with very different personalities, but world class skill to bring to the table. Tonight, the young super-talent 🇺🇸Shakur Stevenson (17-0-0, 9KO) continued his accelerated growth, and showed a level of craft that will further echo the whispers of him being boxings potential vanguard in the near future, as he completed outclassed, out-boxed, and out-muscled now-former Champ 🇺🇸Jamel Herring (23-3-0, 11KO), shutting him out on the scorecards through 10 rounds before forcing Referee Mark Nelson to step in to stop the fight, giving Shakur the TKO victory, en route to him winning the 130 lb. burgundy strap, now to be recognized as a 2-division titlist, and now as the best fighter at Super-Featherweight.
The fight started off with very little foot movement, with both boxers parking in the midrange, trying to establish their jab. Naturally Shakur Stevenson had the speed advantage, with his shots getting there first, and Herring looking to assess the speed on his punches to time him with a counterpunch coming in. Stevenson landed a good jab, roundhouse left cross to the jaw. Shakur elected to start changing up levels by peppering with the jab and left hook to the body of the taller, longer torso of the titlist.
Round 2, understanding that he had to switch it up a bit, Herring began to box off of the back foot, but Shakur was very comfortable moving forward, and was picking Herring apart with beautiful punch placement, pop-shots, while diversifying his combinations to the head and body. The tough, grizzled Marine appeared to be befuddled by the midpoint of the round, though of course he was mentally still in the contest…but he was taking a bit of a beating on a physical level that had to have taken him by some surprise.
Herring came out more aggressively in the third round, bur for every adjustment that he made, Shakur was razor sharp in recognizing what was taking place in front of him, and was blasting away at the world titlist with crisp, clean punches, while Herring had a very difficult time with his radar in picking up the punches, getting drubbed from all angles by the lightning quick 24 year old, who was showing an offensively display that is only achievable by a handful of fighters currently in the sport. At this point, it was appearing like a mismatch, though it was early in the contest.
Herring by round 4 finally started to fight as the big man, probing forward, and even though he wasn’t seeing many changes in his success, it was effective enough to somewhat slow down the Stevenson assault by getting out of the firing range he found himself in extensively during the first 9 minutes. Shaq at the end of the stanza stayed behind the 1-2, re-establishing distance. Round 5, Shakur stepped up his aggression, growing in confidence understanding that he was neutralizing his opponent enough to begin to sit down on punches, with Herring more concerned about blocking, or trying to get out the way, than offering return fire.
Herring seemed to have finally found something that worked late in the 5th round, as he landed a couple of heavy left crosses to the pit of Shakur’s stomach, that Shakur didn’t visibly like taking – a smart tactic, as someone with that level of speed, coordination, and athleticism can be tamed by thwarting the movement with carefully placed punched downstairs.
Round 6 is where Stevenson started to showcase his superior ring generalship, as Herring couldn’t quite pin him on the ropes to get him isolated in one spot, and Shakur continued to punish him. With a right hook, he momentarily wobbled Jamel. Though he didn’t follow up on that, Shakur rode the momentum, and set him up for a couple more, staying behind the game plan that had worked flawlessly for him thus far.
Shakur brazenly dug his feet in the canvas during the 7th round, daring Herring to open up, while Stevenson targeted the stomach with the jab to the body to disrupt rhythm, and keep the champion exactly where he wanted to keep him. The airgap between the two closed as they fought exclusively in closed quarters. Herring got some good work off, but even in this area, he found himself at a disadvantage due to Stevenson’s ability to get the right angles to fire off the right uppercut, and remain elusive, while staying in front of his target, and throwing his weight around.
Herring was uncharacteristically wide with his punches, and often overshot his target…perhaps a sign of fatigue or maybe the accumulated punishment from Stevenson was messing with Herring’s depth perception. You couldn’t fault Herring for not trying, but he was simply going up against a far superior craftsmen.
Round 9, Stevenson decided to bounce back out to range, where he further showcased his superior boxing acumen, winging the left hand and the right hook around the high guard Herring was utilizing in the moment. Herring continued to try, but he couldn’t land anything consistently to truly turn the tide in his favor.
Round 10, Referee Mark Nelson called the Ring Physician over to look at a right cut that Stevenson had opened up, but it wasn’t serious enough to garner serious discussion, and he was allowed to continue on. Stevenson didn’t allow him to rest, taking the opportunity to bludgeon the beaten, battered champ, enough to force Mark Nelson to step in for the stoppage victory.
It may have been premature….but perhaps not, when you look at it from the standpoint that Herring had nothing else to give back, nor did he have the power to change anything around. Shakur Stevenson, in the first big fight of his career, showed a beautiful array of boxing skills, and gets an grade in how he completely neutralized a class fighter such as Herring, to get his first signature victory. Shakur Stevenson hoisted his brand new WBO Super-Featherweight title belt, thus becoming a two-division world titlist in his career, and rising top level acclaim.
This now clears the pathways for Shakur Stevenson to square off against WBC Super-Featherweight Titlist 🇲🇽Oscar Valdez (30-0-0, 23KO). Under normal circumstances, with Stevenson fighting Valdez, it wouldn’t just be a title Unification bout, but it would also be in line for Lineal recognition by way of both TBRB & Ring-Magazine rankings in terms of a #1 vs #2 match-up, however with Valdez being punished by both publications, he was taken out of the ranks altogether.
Perhaps if this fight does actually materialize, they may reinstate Valdez back to his position, for the sake of the division in crowning a singular Champion above alphabet status. Considering that Shakur and Oscar Valdez are both under the same promotional company under Top-Rank, the likelihood of this fight happening next are considerably high for the foreseeable future.