No butts about it: Shakur Stevenson impressive in pro debut

Shakur Stevenson, left, connects against Edgar Brito during a featherweight bout at StubHub Center on Saturday night.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Veteran promoter Bob Arum said when Saturday’s three-title-fight card at StubHub Center is remembered years from now, the lasting memory will be Shakur Stevenson’s professional debut.

Stevenson, a 19-year-old Olympic silver medalist from Newark, N.J., will also keep some memories of how he overcame a head-butting attack from Arizona’s Edgar Brito and flashed the talent that leads many to project him as a future world champion.

Stevenson’s debut ended oddly when ring doctor Paul Wallace ruled after five rounds that Brito could no longer continue because of an injury near the right eye that came on a clash of heads.


That threw the bout to the judges, who awarded Stevenson a unanimous-decision victory in the six-round featherweight bout by three scores of 60-54.

“He worked hard, came through and he’ll only get better,” Arum said of Stevenson, who cracked that Brito’s fight plan must have been to deliver the head butts and hope for a lucky punch.

Instead, Stevenson shrugged off the abuse that led to a one-point deduction of Brito in the third round.

The former Olympian displayed quick hands, impressive head movement to avoid Brito’s offerings and precise power punches that left his opponent with little alternative but to play dirty.

In the fifth round, Stevenson snapped jabs and landed power punches on Brito, revealing the wide talent divide.

“He’s all right. He’s pretty good,” Brito said.

And Stevenson’s co-manager, light-heavyweight champion Andre Ward, said he told Stevenson not to chase a knockout.


“Get your work in, use your jab, keep your composure,” Ward said.

All three boxes were checked.

Twitter: @latimespugmire