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Is Shakur Stevenson the most hated man in the game?

WHETHER it was the result of insecurity, a victim mentality, or genuine belief, Shakur Stevenson’s reaction to criticism for his recent winning streak was to take it to social media and call himself “the most hated person in the game”.

That, as a statement, is untrue, but it is equally interesting to see Stevenson react this way and believe that the thing that creates a response to his performance is hatred as opposed to reality: complete indifference.

Indeed, being hated as a boxer by 2024 is, for some, a goal; something to be desired. Which comes with all the attention, interest, and emotional investment on the part of the “haters” that can, if used correctly, be tangible and financially rewarding. The hated fighter is, in fact, one of the most spectacular and exciting things you can hope to find in boxing, even if their fight night anthem is often fun rather than happy. People want to watch them fight – that is, lose – and people listen to what they have to say to give themselves ammunition to use against them. It’s not a good thing, no, but, if it’s not liked, it’s certainly better to be hated than the other way around, that’s for sure.

The exception, by the way, is this: being ignored. That, for a boxer, is a death sentence and the concern now with someone like Shakur Stevenson is that both his style and personality give him a better chance of being ignored than being hated and talked about. Perhaps the self-proclaimed “most hated man in sports” Stevenson realizes this, too, and is working hard to make sure he’s not forgotten or irrelevant, especially as he heads into free agency after his contract expires. High quality. He’s certainly been busy on social media following his decision win against Artem Harutyunyan on Saturday (July 6). Picking fights with anyone who dares challenge or criticize him (including fellow fighter Marcus Browne), the WBC lightweight champion has adopted a Me against The World mentality and refuses to accept opinions that disagree with his own. In addition, he emphasized that he will not change for anyone, or, as it were, change his style to satisfy the armchair critics who want him to take more risks in the ring.

Shakur Stevenson takes out Artem Harutyunyan (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

“Most of the people who hate this game are thankful that I am grateful,” Stevenson, 25, wrote on Sunday (July 7). “Big respect to Artem he came in good shape and did what he could last night I respect you.. SO to those who support fr Yall who keep me going we haven’t lost and there is no more stay like that! Tell your favorite fans to jump in the ring since I’m not and I’ll be ready and waiting. Thank you all for the good and the bad.”

Even on Stevenson’s social media there were messages directed towards Floyd Mayweather, his hero. He was caught watching Stevenson’s recent win backstage in Anaheim – where Mayweather’s fighter Curmel Moton had his fourth pro bout – and the familiarity is easy to understand. After all, Mayweather was another boxer who distinguished himself by his style that was hated by many until he reached this level of fame and prominence. It doesn’t matter how he went about winning fights as long as he won them. This was greatly helped by the fact that he got compelling fights against opponents who were important and could bring out the best in him; thus taking him from “Pretty Boy”, a taste acquired through extreme skill, to “Money”, a love-hate actor who would become the greatest artist in the game.

For Stevenson, 22-0 (10), the same change is needed, he feels. To be loved or hated should be the goal from now on and to achieve this goal will require, as he says himself, other fighters – big names, with star power – to share the ring with him and in doing so allow Stevenson, a good professional, the opportunity to have his hard style start to make sense in the eyes of the public general; boxing should always be a basic, basic and easy to understand language.

Until then, the idea of ​​Stevenson being loved or hated is a fantasy. Because at this stage, despite a few nasty tweets, the Newark man hasn’t generated enough interest for fans to care about his progress, let alone hate what he stands for. Instead, for the most part, they don’t care, they insult. They are not encouraged, either by Stevenson as a personality or his fighting as entertainment, to feel strongly one way or the other.

That’s why, in general, the boos heard at the exit are not the same as the boos heard before the first bell. The latter suggests involvement, and a level of anticipation, while the former – which, alas, cruelly became Stevenson’s fight song – suggests nothing more than boredom. Meaning: “the most hated man in the game” is not the guy you boo on the way out, but rather the guy you boo on the way in. The one you yell at when you leave is the one you never want to see again. .

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