Emanuel Navarrete has made known his intentions to one day face Shakur Stevenson.
There was a brief internal discussion among his team that led him to believe it could have happened as early as this weekend. Nothing really came of the preliminary talks, though he hopes it’s at least a starting point for a future conversation in his quest to eventually become a three-division titlist.
“There were brief conversations with Shakur’s team but nothing really came of it, at least from his side,” Navarrete revealed to BoxingScene.com. “We were ready on our side, but the fight just never happened.
“Hopefully, we can revisit that conversation after August 20.”
The two instead fight barely a month apart in separate title defenses. Navarrete (35-1, 29KOs) puts his WBO featherweight title at stake for the second time as he faces countryman Eduardo Baez (21-2-2, 7KOs) this Saturday on ESPN from Pechanga Arena in San Diego. Five weeks later, Stevenson returns to his Newark hometown for the first defense as the lineal and unified WBC/WBO junior lightweight champion and second overall WBO defense as he faces mandatory challenger Robson Conceicao atop a September 23 telecast from Prudential Center.
Prior to both fights being announced, Navarrete’s team explored the possibility of moving up in weight. The 27-year-old from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Mexico can still make featherweight without any difficulty, but has grown increasingly frustrated in the lack of interest from the other divisional titlists in entering unification bouts.
Little came of the early conversations between camps, with Navarrete’s team agreeing to stay put for the time being. This weekend’s title defense is enough to command his full attention, though a win on Saturday will resurrect the conversation of his next move. The combination of the unwillingness of the other featherweight titlists—WBC champ Rey Vargas, WBA titleholder Leo Santa Cruz and two-time IBF beltholder Josh Warrington—to unify and any desire offered by Stevenson (18-0, 9KOs) to welcome Navarrete to the division could be enough to trigger a move.
“Right now, I can make weight, no problem,” Navarrete said of his intention to remain at featherweight, should the right opportunities come along. “It’s just the normal struggles that come with any training camp when you start to cut weight in the end. I’m fine at featherweight for and if the right opportunities come, I can continue to make 126.
“If they don’t come, then like I said, there’s no point and I may as well move up to 130 by then. Obviously a Shakur fight would take place at 130, but we will see about moving up permanently after August 20. For now, we have a big fight in front of us and I’m just focused on that.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox