Ring walks nowadays are expansive acts of bravado. I prefer the times when fighters made their way to the “ring of truth” with only the sound of cheers or boos reverberating around them.
Last Saturday night, Shakur Stevenson walked up the aisle with a rapper at his side and his trainers following.
As he stepped through the ropes, his head bobbing slightly to the music, Stevenson glided to his corner, where he turned and stared at the center of the ring. He looked serene. Like many fighters, the ring is where Stevenson feels most comfortable. It’s his home away from home.
His opponent was super featherweight champion, Jamel Herring. Eleven years older at 35, Herring has been underrated his entire career. His story is a feel-good movie of a guy who served his country honorably and went on to fight through some bad breaks and doubts to capture championship gold.
Interestingly enough, he’s the one, though more experienced, who looked more tense before the first bell.
It didn’t take long to see why. Stevenson took over the bout immediately. The shorter fighter by three inches, Stevenson looked bigger. And stronger. He snapped his jab in Herring’s face. He’s quicker, constantly beating the defending champion to the punch.
After the opening three minutes, the template is set. Stevenson was sharp and accurate – while Herring was dull and waving at the air. Stevenson does this for another nine rounds. Herring tries to hang with him, occasionally landing but with little effect.
Stevenson is bossing the fight with ease. When the end comes in round 10, Stevenson, who’s been criticized for not being exciting enough, is all over Herring, peppering him with cutting shots that have left the soon-to-be ex-champ bloody and puffy.
The stoppage draws no complaints from Herring’s corner.
Stevenson celebrated by standing on the middle rope and waving to the crowd. He’s grinning and pointing, the serenity replaced by achievement. He’s done it.
Two world titles in three years, only 17 fights into his career.
Greatness is in his future.
Source: John J. Raspanti