Fernando Beltran, who promotes Navarrete with Top Rank, was recently asked about a hypothetical fight pitting Navarrete, a titlist at 130 pounds, against current 135-pound champion Stevenson, and his response was one of visceral distaste, comparing a Stevenson fight to a certain sleep-inducing ecclesiastical activity. “Let me change the question: would you like to see that fight?” Beltran told FightHubTV in a video interview accompanied by English subtitles. “I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t even like to see Shakur Stevenson in the ring against anyone.
“He’s more boring than mass at three in the afternoon.” Regarded as one of the most skilled and defensively savvy fighters in the sport today, Stevenson, 26, nevertheless has been criticized for playing it a tad too safe inside the ring. In his last fight, against Edwin De Los Santos, Stevenson frustrated fans with his reluctance to engage. Even Stevenson admitted his performance was particularly “bad.” The awkward, hard-charging Naverrete, on the other hand, has fashioned himself as one of the more entertaining fighters today. In his last fight, the 29-year-old native of Mexico battled to a draw with Robson Conceicao. Both Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) and Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs) are backed by Top Rank, so there are no obvious political impediments to fighting each other. When it was pointed out that Stevenson had been involved in relatively crowd-pleasing fights in the past, Beltran offered a sarcastic retort.
“And the others have been exciting, haven’t they?” Beltran said, then referencing how Stevenson had Oscar Valdez chasing after him during their 130-pound title unification bout in 2022. “Oscar was running circles around him and he was moving. “In fact, he’s more boring than mass at 3 in the afternoon.” Earlier this week, Stevenson announced his retirement on social media – but very few observers are taking the announcement seriously. Some believe the announcement, in part, was Stevenson’s reaction to the WBO’s decision to order a fight between Navarrete and Denys Berinchyk for the vacant lightweight title.