LAS VEGAS – Shakur Stevenson doesn’t just want to dominate Miguel Marriaga over 12 rounds Saturday night.
The unbeaten WBO featherweight champion is anxious to make “a statement” when they fight for his 126-pound championship at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. The 22-year-old Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs) has gone the distance in two of his past three fights, but he wants to become the first fighter to truly knock out Colombia’s Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs) in a main event ESPN will televise.
Vasiliy Lomachenko scored a technical-knockout victory over Marriaga in August 2017. That stoppage in their WBO 130-pound championship match was the result of Marriaga declining to leave his corner for the start of the eighth round in a scheduled 12-rounder at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“I wanna f--k him up,” Stevenson told BoxingScene.com. “I wanna beat his ass. I don’t want no regular performance. I’m not going in there for a regular performance, where I just out-box you and take a victory. I wanna beat him up.”
Stevenson knows to become “a star” he’ll have to start knocking out opponents.
“In 2020, it’s just a different Shakur,” Stevenson said. “I wanna show a different part of my game. I wanna be able to actually stand there and fight a little bit more than I have. Not that I’m gonna be dumb about it. I wanna do it in a smart way, but I wanna stand there a little bit more.”
Stevenson, a southpaw from Newark, New Jersey, soundly defeated Joet Gonzalez in their 12-round fight for the then-vacant WBO featherweight title October 26 in Reno, Nevada. Judges Eric Cheek, Glenn Feldman and Dave Moretti each scored that fight 119-109 for Stevenson, who won 11 rounds apiece on their cards.
“I wasn’t disappointed, because I know Gonzalez is a tough fighter,” Stevenson said. “His game plan was for me to stand there, and if I would’ve stood there a little bit too long, he’d have been able to show how good he was. I didn’t do that.”
The 2016 Olympic silver medalist senses Marriaga will be easier to take out than Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KOs).
“I think they’ve got different styles,” Stevenson said. “I think Joet, he’s throwing six-punch and seven-punch combinations. Marriaga’s throwing two, three big, hard shots. He’s not throwing [combinations], so I think I can capitalize off that, stand there and f*ck him up.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.