Is Shakur Stevenson ready for his second weight class title?

Shakur Stevenson
Shakur Stevenson is ready to take a run at his second title in second weight class – albeit an interim title.

Shakur Stevenson can see the finish line. He can see his goal in front of him, but the only obstacle now is Jeremia Nakathila.

This Saturday from the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas, budding star Shakur Stevenson (15-0/8 KOs) takes on Jeremia Nakathila (21-1/17 KOs) in a WBO interim junior lightweight title fight.

Many fans and pundits have Stevenson as a possible regular on the pound-for-pound best fighter list and, should he win on Saturday, he will have picked up his second title in second weight class even though it’s an interim title. The former featherweight world champion could not entice any other champion to unify at 126 and now has moved up to land a big fight.

This fight is high risk for Shakur as his opponent is relatively unknown, but a victory would set up a big fight with Jamel Herring, the current WBO champion who last fought in April. Shakur has asked for big fights and tough fights and with Herring, he would get that, but he must get past Nakathila first.

Shakur Stevenson vs. Jeremia Nakathila fighter advantages

Power

The edge has to go to Nakathila because of the 17 knockouts in 21 wins, as Stevenson has eight knockouts in his 15 wins showing his edge over him. The only thing here is the level of competition for the two are vastly different so we really can’t say with confidence who hits harder.

Intangibles

Shakur Stevenson seems to have the edge in overall intangibles. He’s the more all-around gifted fighter and has a solid defense. Nakathila is more of a pressure fighter which could lead to some good counters from Stevenson and bodywork. In Shakur Stevenson’s most recent fight, he landed 64 body shots out of 151 landed. He was also only hit a total of 48 times at a nine-percent clip. That shows the defensive skill he possesses. Nakathila’s previous bout was a third-round knockout. With the unknown here, it’s hard to ascertain a true advantage.

Prediction 

With everything on the line for Stevenson, I like the fighter’s chances and think we see a seventh-round stoppage. Nakathila will bring a lot of pressure and try to go for a KO, but he will open himself up to the counter shots and body work, which gives Shakur the opportunities to get the stoppage. If he pulls it out, he will get the bigger fights he asks for and fans will be happy to see him reach his goal.