By Keith Idec
Shakur Stevenson and Top Rank Inc. revealed via Twitter on Thursday that the 2016 Olympic silver medalist has signed a contract with Bob Arum’s promotional company.
The 19-year-old Newark, New Jersey native was courted by numerous promoters, including Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s self-named company and Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, during a long process that began nearly six months ago. Stevenson ultimately signed with the Las Vegas-based company that helped build American Olympians such as Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya into superstars.
“We thought that he was by far the best American prospect out of the amateurs,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “He’s an intelligent kid and he has a great personality. We thought with proper handling, he could be a real tremendous superstar.”
Stevenson initially came to Top Rank’s headquarters in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago to discuss a potential deal, which was finalized Thursday.
“We were always talking,” Arum said. “We weren’t chasing. A lot of people were offering a lot of money. We let his management know that we were interested in him. And we bided our time until the managers brought the kid to our office.
“We thought that we made a good presentation and that we had a good rapport with the kid. They then called us and said that he wanted to come with us. And we worked out the contract and he came in the office and signed it today.”
Arum added that Stevenson likely will make his pro debut sometime in April, but didn’t specify a date or site because it isn’t finalized. Stevenson probably will fight at Newark’s Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s Devils, sometime in May.
The left-handed Stevenson was one of the most decorated American amateurs in recent history.
Stevenson failed in his bid to become the first American Olympic gold medalist since Andre Ward in 2004 when he lost to Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez by split decision in the 123-pound, gold-medal match August 20 at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Stevenson did, however, become the first American to win an Olympic silver medal since Houston’s Rocky Juarez and Cincinnati’s Ricardo Williams captured silver in 2000.
Ward, James Prince, who’s Ward’s manager, and attorney Josh Dubin are Stevenson’s managers.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.