Shakur Stevenson and Keyshawn Davis won’t be fighting each other anytime soon

IN order to get in the ring and actually fight and look to hurt another human being, a boxer will try – and need – to feel nothing towards them. Ideally, they will see them as just an opponent, a cardboard cutout they have to, in the name of their profession, knock down. Yet if any emotions are involved, the next-best scenario for a boxer is to dislike their opponent and use this animosity as fuel, or motivation.

One thing they certainly don’t want is to feel fond of their opponent. Find themselves in this position and not only is there a possibility they will struggle to pull the trigger when the time comes, but also there is every chance that in hesitating, or showing compassion, they will in turn become vulnerable and there for the taking.

It is usually for this reason friends do not fight; not unless there is a huge amount of money on offer for them to do so, that is. It is not worth it, they say; not worth the potential of doing damage to someone they like and not worth the potential of being paralysed by an inability to hurt someone they like.

This, after all, is not a game of tennis or a game of darts. Instead, in boxing, a sport that both encourages and rewards the doing of damage, there is no concept of friendly competition. It is, in reality, a sport too serious for that. A sport too risky. A sport too damaging.

Which is perhaps why lightweights Shakur Stevenson and Keyshawn Davis, although competing in the same weight class, have no interest in fighting each other anytime soon. Indeed, despite the fact they both fight this Saturday (July 6) in Newark, New Jersey, to assume this is the start of some collision course would be an assumption very much wide of the mark. Rather, these two lightweights are friends and friends, according to Keyshawn Davis, they will remain, despite his desperation to land a world title at 135 pounds.

“We don’t have to do nothing we don’t want to do,” Davis, 10-0 (7), said to Boxing News when asked about a possible fight against Stevenson. “Me and Shakur are family.”

Shakur Stevenson (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Stretching back to their amateur days, Stevenson and Davis, both Olympic silver medallists, have always been close and this is still clearly the case as pros.

On Saturday, Davis will be fighting Miguel Madueno over 10 rounds, hoping to move his pro record to 11-0, while Stevenson, in the main event, will defend his WBC lightweight crown against Artem Harutyunyan, a fight Davis will be watching as a friend rather than as a future challenger.

Besides, if it’s not going to be Stevenson he one day dethrones, there are, thanks to the fractured nature of boxing’s world titles, other options available for Davis. There is, for instance, Gervonta “Tank” Davis or even Vasiliy Lomachenko. They both currently hold lightweight belts – Davis the WBA; Lomachenko the IBF – and they both clearly represent the sort of tests for which Davis, known as “The Businessman”, claims to be ready. “Tank and Lomachenko are the best right now at lightweight,” said the 25-year-old. “They’ve got all the experience, all the fights, and they’ve been doing this for a long time and they’ve been winning. They’ve both been fighting at an elite level for a long time. They will for sure be my two hardest opponents.

“Whatever world title shot comes along, I’ll take it. I’ve never been a world champion before in the professional ranks, so anybody who gives me a shot, I’ll take it.”

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