Betting preview: Slickster Shakur Stevenson unlikely to switch styles vs Jamel Herring

Stevenson was unspectacular in his unanimous points win last time out and faces his biggest test to date against Herring. (Photo credit: Top Rank).

Shakur Stevenson has a chance to silence his critics on October 23 when he faces Jamal Herring for the New Yorker's WBO junior lightweight world title.

The talented Stevenson, 24, has an unblemished 16-0 record with eight knock-outs but his latest win over Jeremiah Nakathila prompted boos from the Las Vegas crowd.

Stevenson produced a resounding, unanimous points victory over the limited Nakathila, but he was criticised for a lack of offensive thrust. Even when he floored his Namibian counterpart he refused to go for the stoppage.

All three judges scored the contest 120-107 in the favour of Stevenson, who rarely broke sweat.

Stevenson's slick style was too much for his opponent as he scored at will with single shots from range.

He proved far too quick and elusive for Nakathila, who had been beaten just once before their June 2021 tussle.

Floyd Mayweather comparisons

It's clear to see Stevenson has modelled his fledgling career on that of unbeaten multi-weight, world champion Floyd Mayweather.

And maybe the high regard he is held in in America, is also the reason why he can prove to be a frustrating fighter to watch.

His talent looks unrivalled and stepping up to 130 pounds has not been an issue to date, but offensively going after opponents has been his Achilles heel.

"We got awkward opponents with real good punching power; it's not always easy to shine," Stevenson told ESPN recently. "I ain't the only one that went through this. I go back and look at old Floyd Mayweather fights. ... [HBO commentators] Emanuel Steward and Larry Merchant, they're saying Floyd Mayweather, 'He's not that good. He's a very, very boring fighter.'

"I go fight Jamel Herring next and go beat him and then go beat Oscar Valdez. They'll be saying I'm the best young fighter and put me on the pound-for-pound list."

After out-boxing Joet Gonzalez to win the WBO world featherweight title in October 2019, comparisons were immediately made to Mayweather.

In fact the two fighters' stats were compared immediately in the aftermath. CompuBox compared the stats from Stevenson's 9th through to his 13th fight - against Gonzalez to those of Mayweather's from his 9th through to 13th fights.

The results were close but found Mayweather to have a better rating at +18.2, compared to Shakur's +17.6.

And the reason why was that Mayweather was considered a "more effective offensive fighter" landing 41.2% of his total punches, compared to 32.6% for Stevenson.

Superstar Mayweather was also a lot busier, throwing 54.8 punches per round to 43.2 for Stevenson. But one thing the stats did show that Stevenson's defence was better.

His opponents landed just 15% of their total punches, compared to 23% for Floyd's opponents.

And that is the reason why Planet Sport Bet have the Newark-born fighter as the heavy favourite. He is simply very hard to tag and has a left jab that is as good as any in the weight division.

'I'm going to please myself'

"I just try to be dominant," Stevenson told DAZN after his latest win. "I don't really care too much about (impressing) the fans because one day they love you, the next day they don't.

At the end of the day, I'm going to please myself."

He's a strong-willed boxer, who seems unlikely to break his style against former US Marine Herring (23-2).

The later packs more power than Stevenson has faced to date. But Stevenson has sparred with former junior welterweight world champion Regis Prograis recently to get him used to more power shots.

Prograis fights at 140 pounds and is described as "tough and rugged" by southpaw Stevenson.

He certainly won't be surprised by the power of the wily Herring, who destroyed Carl Frampton in Dubai in April 2021.

Herring, 35, dropped Frampton with a left jab in the fifth round. And then unleashed a savage uppercut in the following round which effectively ended Frampton's fight, with the towel being thrown in soon after.

It was a resounding victory for the 5ft 10in American with Frampton retiring soon after.

He did though get cut above his right eye after being caught with a left hook. And he also got cut in his previous fight with Jonathan Oquendo.

That fight was stopped after the eighth round because of an intentional head-butt from the Cuban.

Herring has vowed to take Stevenson to places he has not been in his short career.

"I told [Stevenson] ... that when the fight happens, I know it will be his toughest fight," Herring said in August. "I said it to his face: 'I'm going to be your biggest fight, your biggest test.'

"I've been in there with better guys than he's fought by far."

That may well be true, but Stevenson still looks to have the skills to make the fight just as hard for Herring.

With only one stoppage in his last four fights though, Stevenson may have to take his older opponent to the final bell and it could be a match-up that goes the distance.

Stevenson's last KO was in June 2020 when two body shots stopped Felix Carballo in his tracks.

But with this one set to go 12 rounds, expect the younger slickster to get the vote on the scorecards in Atlanta.

Read more: Betting preview: Tyson Fury backed to repeat win over Deontay Wilder

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