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MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: SHAKUR, BENAVIDEZ-ANDRADE, IS FURY-USYK FOR REAL?

By Paul Magno | November 16, 2023
MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: SHAKUR, BENAVIDEZ-ANDRADE, IS FURY-USYK FOR REAL?

Every Thursday here at FightHype, boxing fans gather around my bulbous, bulging sack in anticipation of an Ol’ Faithful money shot of gooey, salty truth. This Thursday is no different. So, put your goggles on and cinch up your plastic poncho, here it comes. This week, we have comments/questions regarding Fury-Usyk, Shakur Stevenson, and Benavidez-Andrade

Fury-Usyk???

Hi Paul.

Big fan of you and your no nonsense style. Boxing needs more writers and more minds like yours.

It’s been announced that Fury vs. Usyk will be happening February 17. Should that make me feel good? You’ve said a bunch of times that you think this fight won’t happen. Do you still feel that way now, after the “official” announcement? I’m really, really hoping this one happens because I want Fury embarrassed and nudged into retirement. 

– Phil

Hey Phil.

Thanks for the kind words. 

What can I say? I don’t think that February 17 date happens. I think Fury will find a way to put it off or put it away. I think it’s generally good practice to disregard “official” announcements from most everyone in this business, especially those coming from media. I guess I’d concede that Fury-Usyk might happen eventually. But less than two full months after Christmas holiday and with Fury having loads of Saudi/Ngannou “fuck you money” in the bank? Nope. For me, at least, this February 17 date is highly unlikely. I won’t believe this fight is hitting the ring until it’s literally hitting the ring.

Is Shakur THAT Good?

Hey Magno.

The hype with Shakur Stevenson has been obnoxious, especially with him been labeled as the next Most Feared Man in Boxing. I recognize that he has skill and talent, but is he so good that he has all these people talking him up like he was a boxing legend already. I don’t see it and I don’t see his resume as anything special at all. Beating Edwin De los Santos won’t change any of that. What’s your angle on the Shakur hype. Is he that good or just a figment of the fanboys’ imaginations?

– Boxingman101

Hey Boxingman.

Shakur Stevenson is that good. As much as I like to be the guy calling out hype, misdirection, and flat-out lies, I can’t do that with Shakur. He IS that good. In the same way I declared “for real” status with guys like Terence Crawford, Gervonta Davis, and many others before them-- before they actually faced elite-level tests-- that’s what I’m doing with Stevenson. In terms of skill, ability, and mindset, he’s got it all. Plus, he has that “he’s a natural” vibe to everything he does, something which most of the greats have. I agree that his resume is thin. His high-water mark wins versus Jamel Herring and Oscar Valdez were very solid, but neither Herring nor Valdez are/were next-level elites and they both kind of lined up perfectly with Shakur’s strengths. We’ll see how he performs against guys who can do special things, but I say he’ll do well.

As for the “most feared” stuff? That’s always bullshit promotion. Lots of fighters are avoided for delivering low reward for the risk they present. That’s nothing new and nothing rare. It’s business. As I wrote in a fairly recent Notes from the Boxing Underground column:

“If a fighter, like Shakur, is being avoided and finding it tough to get the big fights he wants, he should be asking himself why the reward for facing him is so low. Why is there so little up side to fighting him?  That’s the real question. That’s a promotional issue. Point that finger at your own people, not at the people trying to build another fighter’s profile. 

But hyping a fighter as ‘feared’ sure makes for a convenient way to sell mismatches to the public (nobody else will fight him!) and, also, a way to hold on to a disgruntled fighter who’s wondering why he’s not getting the fights he wants (It’s all the other team’s fault...They’re scared!).”

So, spare me, forever, with that “most feared” stuff.

Benavidez-Andrade

My Man! 

David Benavidez will make his case for Fighter of the Year if he can beat Demetrius Andrade in a convincing manner. If Andrade can shut David down and win, Andrade wins big-time respect and gets an “I told you so” moment for the whole boxing world to see. This fight’s a win-win for boxing fans. I can’t wait. 

– Luis D.

Hey Luis.

Benavidez-Andrade is an excellent fight and a beyond-compelling clash of styles. I think you might meet lots of resistance in naming a victorious Benavidez Fighter of the Year, but it would be hard to find a fighter who’s tested himself more in 2023. Plant and Andrade are tricky opponents and stylistic nightmares, especially for offense-minded fighters like Benavidez. I think Andrade will do a lot better than some seem to think, but it’s going to be tough to deal with the pressure Benavidez brings. I’m excited.

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com.

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