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Stevenson sails to victory…But it’s not fun

Written by: Sean Crose

WBC lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson put his title, and his undefeated record of 21-0, on the line Saturday night in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey with a 12-1 victory over Artem Harutyunyan. The fight was scheduled for a 12 rounder and was the main event of the ESPN Top Rank card.

The two men got along quickly. Late in the first, Harutyunyan was working his way into the southpaw Shakur while Shakur blocked his man with a right hand. Things remained slow in the second as Stevenson decided to play it cool against his tough opponent. The third remained slow, although Stevenson was able to nail his man to the body in the metal. Stevenson subtly applied a fourth press, which resulted in Harutyunyan losing control of the action.

While Stevenson was able to land a clean shot in the fifth, the pace of the fight remained so slow that it took a keen eye to see what Stevenson was doing. It was a successful strategy, although it was not an exciting one. That said, Harutyunyan looked low on fuel in sixth place. Stevenson, free to throw hard shots, was in complete control.

In the seventh, it was clear that Stevenson was much stronger and more skilled than his match opponent. Harutyunyan was giving his best, but it was clearly not enough. As for Stevenson, he hit the ground running on Harutyunyan, but he didn’t seem to have the full impact that other fighters in his position could. After that, some fans could be heard mocking the eighth.

Things are always slow in the ninth. Harutyunyan, however, could go down in volume at times. “If you do your job you’re going to take this thug out,” Stevenson’s trainer told him between rounds. Tenth was unusual, although Stevenson argued his corner after the round. The eleventh played at the same pace as most of the war.

The twelfth and final round was a quiet affair, much like the previous eleven rounds. Stevenson continued to dominate, and left the ring with a decision victory under his belt. He was a genius – but not exactly fun to watch. Indeed, Stevenson’s lack of “killer instincts” or raw power may unfortunately keep him from being a fan favorite – pity the talented fighter.

*Images: High quality

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