Their names together – Stevenson, Davis, Anderson – sound like some highfalutin law firm, but these three men are looking to be the future of boxing.
You remember boxing, don’t you?
The Sweet Science, along with baseball and horse racing, was once one of America’s primary sports.
Now, horse racing attracts fans for the Triple Crown, baseball is pitch clocking its way toward a speedier future and boxing is a niche, at best. Maybe you get four big fights a year, while the rest of the time there’s posturing, yelling, stagnation and YouTubing.
“I Am The Greatest!” has been replaced with “Look how many followers I have!” and the left hook is now Swipe Right!
Yet, Shakur Stevenson (25), Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (23) and Keyshawn “The Businessman” Davis (24) are talented youngsters on track to be boxing’s future champions. Their combined record is 39-0 with 27 KOs.
All three get to show their wares on ESPN, at 10 pm Saturday, April 8 from the Prudential Center (aka: The Rock) in Newark, NJ.
It’s another homecoming for Stevenson, the former 126-pound and unified 130-pound champ. Born in Newark and fighting at The Rock for the third time, the undefeated (19-0; 9 KOs) southpaw, is moving up to his natural weight of 135.
Stevenson is the main event versus Japan’s Shuichiro Yoshin (16-0; 12 KOs) in his first ever fight outside of his country. The 12-round bout is billed as a title eliminator.
“Can’t wait to go show out in front of my home town,” says Stevenson with a little sniffle. “I’m very excited and grateful for the last event we had there and ready to do bigger things.”
His last fight was a struggle to make 130 pounds and he missed it by 1.6 pounds. He was stripped, won a unanimous decision and said so long to the division.
Is there pressure fighting back at home?
“Ain’t no pressure. I barely even get nervous anymore to be honest,” he acknowledges. “I think that’s a bad thing though. I like to get nervous. I was nervous at the Olympics.”
He captured a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games.
“I just want to show people that I’m here. That’s the message,” he declares. “It’s been a long anticipation for me to fight at 135.
“Now that I’m here, I want to let the world know, “What’s up?”
He knows his opponent is a pressure fighter so that should play into his strategy, right?
“Yeah, but with them dudes, you’ve got to be in the best shape as possible. They hope for you to gas out and get tired,” he admits.
Stevenson’s goal is the lightweight championship. All four belts are the property of twenty-four year old Devin Haney. Stevenson has to wait in line. Haney fights former three-division champ Vasiliy Lomachenko on May 20 in Las Vegas where Stevenson trains.
“I think he beats Lomachenko,” he says, “but you just don’t know.”
Stevenson has been plying his craft with his long-time trainer and grandfather Wali Moses. He also gets valuable up close work by sparring with WBO welterweight boss Terrence Crawford, but that’s not what intrigues Stevenson.
“I learn more from watching Terrence in the ring,” he states. “If Terrence is sparring, I don’t want to spar at the same time. I want to watch.”
Let’s just say that Keyshawn Davis does not suffer from self-doubt.
His eighth fight as a professional – after a silver-winning performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – pits him against one Anthony Yigit (26-2-1; 10 KOs) for 10 rounds.
“He knows how to fight, but he’s not good at nothing. I’m dominant all the way around,” says the confident Virginia Beach, VA native from his training camp in Las Vegas. “I don’t think he’s good at all, honestly.”
This is the learning part of the fight game that you can’t speed up.
You fight opponents with different styles, so when you become champ, you’ve left nothing to chance, but don’t call Davis a “prospect.”
“[Being called a] prospect is cute,” states Davis with a chuckle, “but I wasn’t looking at myself as a prospect coming into the pros, even before I signed with Top Rank.
“I always knew I was going to be a world champion. April 8 is just the start of me being a world champion. I want to show the fans that I’m about to be a world champion.”
Davis is in the same lightweight division as Stevenson, and Devin Haney is the unified champ. He has to wait for his opportunity. He thinks he’s ready, due to the experience he received at the 2020 Games.
“The Olympics was the first time I felt the most pressure in my career,” declares Davis. “I felt for the first time that I performed at a high magnitude. It gave me a lot of confidence going to the pros.”
Still learning with a record of 7-0 with 5 kayos, Davis has already started a post boxing career with his mom. The medical business is “Mama J’s Transportation,” a non-emergency company.
“We take people, elderly people to their doctor’s visit,” he states. The company is named after his grandmother Jackie. “We take mental patients or people who need to get off drugs to their appointment.”
“The Businessman” is on his way to being a true businessman. Hopefully, his future championship belts won’t clash with his businessman chic.
The heavyweight division is the engine that drives boxing and when a big name is at the wheel – Louis, Ali, Tyson – huge opportunities become available to the driver.
For Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson, fame doesn’t motivate him.
“I don’t want to be known. I don’t want my face everywhere,” says the low-key Anderson, all 6-foot-4-inches of him. “I don’t want to do these interviews. I just want to get paid.
“I want to put on a show and fight for the crowd that comes to pay to see me.”
So, fame and glamour?
“I don’t want to be famous,” he repeats. “I want to be rich.”
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The Real Big Baby (he got the name because he was big at a young age) has one element that every non-boxing fan can recognize and that’s power.
Thirteen fights … thirteen wins … thirteen knockouts.
The Houston resident, who trains in Las Vegas, is a two-time U.S. National Heavyweight champ (2017, 2018) and faces undefeated George Arias (18-0; 7 knockouts) in a 10-rounder.
Anderson has yet to experience round seven and that’s no problem for him.
“I go 10, 12 rounds in the gym,” he states, adding he wants his career to be short and profitable.
“I’ll be out of your hair by the time I’m 27,” says the 23-year-old Toledo, OH native. And if a big fight materializes when he’s 28?
“I don’t care,” says The Real Big Baby, not whining, just being honest.
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