Shakur Stevenson still isn’t sure why he isn’t preparing to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko next month.
According to Stevenson, the three-division champion from Ukraine was offered a career-high purse to box him. They’re both promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. as well, which should make it easier to complete a deal for Stevenson-Lomachenko.
While disappointed that he won’t face Lomachenko on November 16, Stevenson hopes his first fight of 2024 will come against the former unified lightweight champion.
“He got a big name at 135,” Stevenson told a group of reporters and videographers recently. “So, when I smoke him I think that the world would understand that I really am the truth.”
Stevenson believes Lomachenko deserved a victory over undefeated, undisputed lightweight champ Devin Haney in his last fight. The 35-year-old Lomachenko lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Haney, who won by scores of 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 to retain his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 135-pound crowns May 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 26-year-old Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs), a two-division champion from Newark, New Jersey, is scheduled to face Dominican southpaw Edwin De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs) for the vacant WBC lightweight title November 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The WBC relegated Haney to the status of lightweight champion in recess because Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) has moved up to the 140-pound division to challenge WBC super lightweight champ Regis Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) in a DAZN Pay-Per-View main event December 9 at Chase Center in San Francisco.
Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) decided when he was presented with the Stevenson fight to take off the remainder of this year. Arum informed BoxingScene.com that the two-time Olympic gold medalist would be open to facing Stevenson next year, however, in what would still be one of the biggest fights that can be made in the 135-pound division.
“I would love to fight Lomachenko,” Stevenson said. “I don’t know why we didn’t fight this fight. That shoulda been the next fight. I heard he got offered the biggest purse of his career and turned it down. So hopefully, we can still make something happen. I don’t see why not.”
If he defeats De Los Santos in a main event ESPN will televise and faces Lomachenko in his following fight, the left-handed Stevenson thinks he can become the first fighter to beat Lomachenko by knockout. Lomachenko’s losses were all points defeats to Orlando Salido, Teofimo Lopez and Haney.
“I think it’s a possibility that I stop him,” Stevenson said. “And if not, I’ll be beating the sh!t out of him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.