NEWARK, New Jersey – By the time Shakur Stevenson makes his entry into the lightweight division, the unbeaten former two-division champion assumes Devin Haney will be nearing his jump to the junior welterweight limit of 140-pounds.
Eventually, however, Stevenson sees an intriguing fight with Haney in his future. The unbeaten boxers never fought as amateurs because they were always at least a weight class apart, but Stevenson and Haney have sparred against one another for more than 10 years.
Now that they’re accomplished professionals, Stevenson would like to match skills with boxing’s fully unified lightweight champion in a fight that counts. The former featherweight and super featherweight champion must remain patient, until he and Haney finally remain still within the same division.
“I think he been talking about it on the regular, like 135 is not the easiest for him to make,” Stevenson told BoxingScene.com. “So, I just don’t see me and him being at the same weight class at the same time. I feel like we always end up [a division apart]. It’s gonna happen. We’re gonna stop growing and it’ll happen. But I just don’t see it as of right now. I think he’s on his way up to 140 and I’m on my way up to 135.”
The 23-year-old Haney (28-0, 15 KOs), a career-long lightweight from Henderson, Nevada, might move up to the 140-pound division after he defends his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO crowns against former champ George Kambosos Jr. (20-1, 10 KOs) in their immediate rematch October 16 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Stevenson is scheduled to return on Saturday night, when he battles Brazil’s Robson Conceicao in a 12-round main event ESPN will televise from Prudential Center in Newark, Stevenson’s hometown.
Stevenson was due to defend the WBC, WBO super featherweight titles, but his inability to make the division limit at Thursday's official weigh-in forced him to vacate both belts. He plans to make his move to the lightweight division in his next fight, which is likely taking place in the first quarter of 2023.
Even before Thursday's weigh-in, the 25-year-old Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs), a southpaw who won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, was contemplating a possible jump to 135-pounds in the aftermath of his bout with Conceicao (17-1, 8 KOs).
Whoever Stevenson fights in 2023, he’ll have Haney at least in the back of his mind.
“I think it’s a big, big fight,” Stevenson said. “But with that fight, I feel like we would have to be at the same weight class and, for some reason, I just honestly feel that me and him been one weight class apart our whole careers, since the amateurs. I’ll be 114 and Devin would be 119. Then I’ll be 123 and he’ll be 132. So, you know, we never really are at the same weight class at the same time.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.