Shakur Stevenson's return to the ring has largely been advertised as him "testing the waters" as a super featherweight, but when it comes to his future at that weight, Stevenson has more in mind than just "testing the waters."
Stevenson, the current WBO featherweight champion, is set to face Felix Caraballo in the main event of Top Rank's June 9 show on ESPN from Las Vegas in a super featherweight bout. As of this moment, there's no word on if Stevenson will make the permanent move up and drop the featherweight title, but it does appear that it will happen at some point. While speaking to Fightful on a recent media call, Stevenson said he has thought about potentially facing the current champions at 130 pounds.
"Of course. I think the champions at 130 are all decent fighters. I already am thinking about putting myself in the ring [against those fighters]. I am already thinking of fighting with Oscar Valdez, with Miguel Berchelt, Leo Santa Cruz, [Joseph Diaz Jr.], even Jamel Herring if I have to," Stevenson said.
While Stevenson is thinking about fighting up in weight at some point in the future, his sights are still set on a potential unification fight against IBF champion Josh Warrington, a fight that the Newark, New Jersey native has had his sights on for more than a year. Throughout his time calling for that fight, Warrington switched promoters from Frank Warren to Eddie Hearn and with the current coronavirus pandemic, it will take some time to make that fight together, if it does happen.
But when it comes to the super featherweight champions, Stevenson believes it will be much easier to secure title fights and unification bouts against those fighters. Most of the current crop of super featherweight champions features fighters affiliated with Top Rank (WBC champion Miguel Berchelt and WBO champion) or with other promotional entities who have worked with Top Rank for fights involving Stevenson (IBF champion Joseph Diaz Jr. is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions). With those factors in mind, Stevenson does think those fights can be made for down the road.
"Yeah, I think that's an easier fight to make than Josh Warrington. With Josh Warrington, there comes a lot of business and politics and the money, stuff like that. Those fights are a lot easier, especially with Valdez and Berchelt because they are with Top Rank. [Joseph] is with Golden Boy but I just fought a Golden Boy fighter in my last fight (a win against Joet Gonzalez last year to win the WBO featherweight title), so I think those fights are a lot easier to make than a Josh Warrington fight," Stevenson said.
Stevenson vs. Caraballo takes place on June 9 at the Top Rank on ESPN card from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. You can check out Stevenson's comments in the video at the top of the page.