By Elliot Worsell
Calling a boxer an acquired taste is not only a judgment on the boxer’s ability to entertain, but also a reflection of the audience’s ability to understand. When a fighter is described as an acquired taste, it may not necessarily be a criticism of the fighter or their skills, but rather a critique of the audience’s inability to focus, pay attention, and fully appreciate what they are watching.
It is still unclear whether Shakur Stevenson, 21-0 (10), falls into this category. While his skills are undeniably impressive and show signs of future pound-for-pound greatness, there is also a pattern emerging where Stevenson often receives boos from the audience and seems indifferent to this and his duty to entertain.
For some fighters, the degree to which they are responsible for entertaining fans is a point of contention. Considering the risks and stakes involved in boxing, self-preservation and safety are of utmost importance, even if it means sacrificing entertainment value. Stevenson appears content with this approach, as he stuck to his plan of safety and winning in his recent fight against Edwin De Los Santos, despite the boos from the audience.
Stevenson acknowledged that many great fighters have been booed in their careers and emphasized that he is not concerned with the boos. He believes that some nights will be more challenging, but he looks forward to the nights when the audience appreciates his performance.
Stevenson apologized to his fans and admitted that he could have performed better. He recognized that he had a lot going on but refused to make excuses. Despite his lackluster performance, Stevenson managed to secure the vacant WBC lightweight belt with scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 115-113.
Stevenson accepted that his performance was not his best and recognized the need to avoid complacency as he progresses through the weight classes and picks up belts in fights that may not warrant being called world championship fights. He also acknowledged that facing tougher challenges could help him showcase his brilliance and be fully accepted and appreciated as a fighter.
He expressed his appreciation for the support of fighters like Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, and Terence Crawford, and admitted that they had witnessed a bad performance from him. Stevenson held himself to high standards and expressed his determination to come back stronger in his next fight.
Ultimately, despite the boos and criticism, Stevenson’s performance serves as a reminder of the challenges he needs to overcome and the potential he has to showcase his full capabilities and be recognized as a great fighter.