LAS VEGAS – Emanuel Navarrete’s name was brought up again as a potential opponent for Shakur Stevenson’s next fight when Stevenson met with the media late Thursday night.
Stevenson wasn’t disrespectful, but he indicated Navarrete’s majority draw with Robson Conceicao makes the WBO junior lightweight champion less attractive as a possible first foe of 2024. Mexico’s Navarrete dropped Brazil’s Conceicao twice in the co-feature before Stevenson outpointed Edwin De Los Santos in the main event at T-Mobile Arena, but judges Max De Luca and Chris Flores scored their 12-round, 130-pound championship bout a draw, 113-113 apiece.
Judge Don Trella scored Navarrete a 114-112 winner, but Conceicao courageously slugged it out with the relentless, rugged champion in a fan-friendly fight that was immeasurably more entertaining than Stevenson-De Los Santos. Stevenson dominated Conceicao (17-2-1, 8 KOs, 1 NC) in their 12-round, 130-pound title fight in September 2022, however, which hurts the marketability of a bout between Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) and Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs), who would need to move up five pounds to fight for Stevenson’s WBC lightweight title.
“He just got a draw with Robson,” Stevenson said. “I actually thought Robson was winning besides the knockdowns. Every time he got knocked down he kinda messed up. But it was a lotta times he was connecting with a lotta shots, so I saw a close fight. I can’t say who won. I saw a close fight.”
Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. promotes Stevenson, Navarrete and Conceicao, told BoxingScene.com on Friday that he’ll explore putting together a Navarrete-Conceicao rematch.
“I think their rematch will attract a lot of attention,” Arum said. “It was one of the best fights of the year. I had it six rounds to six, and therefore I gave Navarrete the victory by two points. The other two judges had it 7-5 for Conceicao. And with the two points [for the knockdowns], it was a draw.”
Stevenson, meanwhile, would prefer to make his first WBC lightweight title defense against Vasiliy Lomachenko. He told BoxingScene.com before he defeated De Los Santos (16-2, 14 KOs) that talk of a Navarrete bout took attention away from the higher-profile fight he truly wants with Ukraine’s Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs), a three-weight world champion who was very competitive against undisputed lightweight champ Devin Haney in his last fight – a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat May 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“Like I said, I’ll fight anybody for sure,” Stevenson said Thursday night. “But as of right now, I wanna go back to the drawing board, critique myself, look at myself, see where I went wrong and work on my game.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.