LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum isn’t concerned that Shakur Stevenson will follow the path of his mentor and eventually align himself with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions to get the fight that he wants most.
Terence Crawford left Arum’s Top Rank Inc., his longtime promoter, following his 10th-round stoppage of Shawn Porter in November 2021. That move later led to Crawford securing his long-awaited showdown with Errol Spence Jr., who has worked with Haymon since he turned pro nearly 11 years ago.
Crawford capitalized on that opportunity by dominating Spence in their welterweight title unification fight July 29 at T-Mobile Arena, where he dropped Spence three times and stopped him in the ninth round. Stevenson doesn’t want to wait nearly as long to square off against Gervonta Davis as Crawford waited to oppose Spence, but Arum assured a group of reporters and videographers recently at Top Rank’s gym that Stevenson won’t need to leave Top Rank to get paid the type of money Stevenson seeks.
“He doesn’t have to go to [PBC] because we control a lot of the money now,” Arum said. “You can see by the fight in Saudi Arabia, and money makes the world go round in boxing.”
The 92-year-old Arum referred to the Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight title fight, which will be fully funded by The General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia. Top Rank co-promotes England’s Fury, the unbeaten WBC champion, along with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions and helped secure the deal that will bring the Fury-Usyk fight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Stevenson’s next bout will come against a PBC-affiliated fighter, Edwin De Los Santos. Their 12-round, 135-pound championship clash will be financially supported by ESPN, which affords Top Rank a sizable budget annually as part of its exclusive content agreement with Arum’s company.
Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) was supposed to box another southpaw backed by PBC, Frank Martin, on November 16 at T-Mobile Arena. Martin (18-0, 12 KOs) accepted the Stevenson bout, but he withdrew from it several days later and was eventually replaced by De Los Santos (16-1, 14 KOs), who will fight Stevenson for the vacant WBC lightweight title.
“We’re paying opponents money that they haven’t seen,” Arum said. “But sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We had a deal for this Frank Martin, paying Martin seven or eight times more than he ever made. And his promoter, Tom Brown, went along with that. We made the deal and then the kid pulled out. Now, I don’t know what’s in these kids’ [minds]. But we’ll find, as we go on, top, top talent to fight Shakur. And the boy he’s fighting on the 16th of November is a tough guy, [will] give him a really good fight. But I gotta be honest with you, I don’t think anybody ever beats Shakur.”
Stevenson, 26, has won world titles in the featherweight and junior lightweight divisions during his six-year professional career. Top Rank has promoted the 2016 Olympic silver medalist since the Newark, New Jersey native turned pro.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.