Shakur Stevenson has wanted to get a big fight for a while now, and he was tuned in as usual on Saturday night, seeing Emanuel Navarrete stop a very game Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz to retain his WBO featherweight title in Florida.
Stevenson (15-0, 8 KO) is the former WBO featherweight titlist, winning that belt in Oct. 2019 by beating Joet Gonzalez. He didn’t defend it — though he was meant to before COVID wrecked plans last year — and instead moved up to 130, chasing the man he felt avoided him at 126, Oscar Valdez.
Valdez, of course, is now considered the top dog at 130 after his upset win over Miguel Berchelt. And Stevenson also has eyes on WBO titleholder Jamel Herring. If Herring doesn’t sign a contract to fight the winner of Stevenson’s interim title fight with Jeremiah Nakathila on June 12, that will be for the vacant WBO belt.
But Shakur has another guy in mind now, too, and it’s Navarrete, saying he figures the Mexican two-division titlist wouldn’t avoid him as he feels others have done:
Navarrete (33-1, 28 KO) has designs on winning a world title in a third weight class, and admitted post-fight this evening that a move to 130 could come soon, if he can’t get a big name in the ring at featherweight. And the odds of Navarrete getting Gary Russell Jr or Leo Santa Cruz — two names he threw out — seem pretty low.
If Stevenson were to win the vacant WBO title June, or beat Herring for it later this year, that fight is very possible. Navarrete moving up would have the WBO right to take an immediate title shot, be it against Herring or Stevenson; right now, Stevenson has the mandatory order, at least if he beats Nakathila, should Herring not vacate. But Navarrete could await the winner.
Top Rank has other fighters at 130 — again, Herring and WBC titlist Oscar Valdez — but this is one we definitely could see by the end of 2021 or early in 2022, depending on how things shake out. Both guys want big fights. They would be a big fight for one another.