Shakur vs Joet, top featherweights collide for the vacant belt on Oct. 26th
We have grown accustomed to developmental fights and learning how to watch our favorite fighters fight in bouts that might not merit excitement prior, but we appreciate their skills and so forth and so on. It is sort of the catch-22 with boxing, you might watch a lot of mismatches if you love the sport.
Shakur Stevenson versus Joet Gonzalez is not that – AT ALL.
This is a battle of two top amateurs who have turned into the #1 and #2 ranked featherweights, as ranked by the WBO, who recently saw Oscar Valdez vacate the title, leaving these two to go to battle for the title. Essentially we have two young, decorated fighters doing battle for a world title.
A little background on each.
Shakur Stevenson is one of the five best U.S. American amateurs over the past 20 years. Stevenson won a silver medal at the 2016 games and up until his loss in the finals of Rio 2016 was undefeated in amateur competition. Stevenson feels like a generational talent, who is looking to elevate to the next chapter of his career. On top of that, Stevenson despite being a young contender is already being avoided by top-level competition meaning he essentially needs a world title to get exciting fights.
Joet Gonzalez not unlike was a terrific amateur as well coming from a boxing family with his sister, Jajaira Gonzalez, and his brother, Jousce Gonzalez, both being fighters. Despite an impressive amateur career, Gonzalez turned pro to a lukewarm reception and had to earn his accolades, with his stoppage of Manuel “Tino” Avila, this summer as most notable.
Gonzalez is a pure pressure fighter, a man who has sparred countless rounds with Vasyl Lomachenko, and been called back, because of the quality of his work. Stevenson is the prototypical boxer-puncher, someone who can out slick seemingly anyone, and has the power to keep most honest.
The bout which will take place in Reno, Nevada, is the type of fight, that avid fight fans hopefully get behind since it is truly a battle between two of the best young fighters in the game, on top of that it is a feud of sorts. The two have traded barbs at each other on Twitter, but Stevenson has had a relationship with Joet’s sister, which could make this bout even more personal.
Despite the high level of skill in the bout, potentially the most interesting thing about this fight is the blood feud and genuine dislike between the two fighters. In an era in which fighters are “too friendly” in the ring, this is not the case at all, as the two have distain for each other.
The bout is also interesting case study in purse bids as Stevenson’s is promoted by Top Rank Inc, and Gonzalez is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, but the WBO’s mandate for the fight with implications to their world title forced the bout to come to fruition.
With a vacant title on the line, a tremendous TV date on ESPN on Saturday, October 26th, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada serving as home base for the event. We potentially could be in for a modern classic a few days before Halloween.