What does Shakur Stevenson’s 2024 look like?

Shakur Stevenson had a bizarre 2023. 

The fighter most pundits label as the future pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter sent a silent salvo, rather than a warning shot in 2023. 

Stevenson is a three-division world champion at just 25. He is the 2016 Olympic silver medalist and the most decorated US amateur since Andre Ward. It is no surprise that Ward and Terence Crawford have taken to the fighter and offered him guidance. Crawford brings Stevenson to camp and it seems that Shakur is getting an apprenticeship in greatness.

Stevenson has arguably the best promoter for building prospects, Top Rank Inc, he is managed by James Prince. In essence, Stevenson has it all. A powerful team, with accolades and talent.

Yet, after his historic (for all the wrong reasons) bout against Edwin De Los Santos. The future seems foggy. Stevenson can still navigate himself to a Hall of Fame career, but 2024 could be a crucial year in his trajectory. 

Stevenson seemingly can’t get a fight. Which is causing problems. His first contest of the year was a historically insignificant one against Shuichiro Yoshino to become the No. 1 contender for the WBC lightweight title held by Devin Haney. Fighters who opted not to face Stevenson for that date were William Zepeda, Issac Cruz, and George Kambosos Jr. 

Despite facing a good fighter, Stevenson’s sixth-round stoppage of Yoshiro looked to be a mismatch. Stevenson landed 50 per cent of his punches whereas Yoshiro only landed 36 punches in the fight. 

Stevenson had a marquee fight against De Los Santos in November. Originally, it was thought Frank Martin would be in the opposite corner, but Martin pulled out. Stevenson fought De Los Santos for the vacant WBC lightweight world title and the contest took place on a Thursday as a part of F1 week in Las Vegas. 

Stevenson took the burden off the fallout for the boredom that saw the bout make history for all the wrong reasons. For his part, De Los Santos has avoided a lot of blame so far. In a 12-round fight, Stevenson landed 65 punches while De Los Santos landed 40. It was hard to watch, even for a purist. 

Now, Stevenson enters 2024 with the need to fulfill his greatness. Opponents like William Zepeda, Isaac Cruz, and Raymond Muratalla all lurk in the division. The talent is there. 

Stevenson is right there with Abdul ‘Tank’ Wahid, and Devin Haney as the best of the era. Yet all three are taking three different paths. Wahid is maximizing revenue and becoming the biggest name. Haney is taking on the historically significant fights, and Stevenson’s path seems to be that of the chaser. Now in 2024, he must chase down at least one big fight.