After drawing more than 10,400 fans at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, its clear that Shakur Stevenson is now at the very least a regional draw. He's is now following the footsteps of the likes of Terence Crawford (Omaha, Nebraska) and Errol Spence (Dallas, Texas) who are bona-fide ticket sellers in their hometowns.
The fact it's happened so quickly, hasn't surprised Bob Arum, the founder of Top Rank, which promotes the two-time world champion.
Arum told SNAC.com, "He is from Newark, and the fans are really, really rabid, good fans. It's a first class arena with good parking and everything. It has all the ingredients to do big business."
Years ago, Tomasz Adamek rode the wave of Polish support to draw sizable crowds to this arena, home of the New Jersey Devils. This past weekend was his third outing in the building, and the second consecutive fight there, both drawing over 10,000 patrons.
In an era where many fights go to casino's, and even the Middle East, there are still boxers who are being built locally, the old-fashioned way. Arum is fond of saying that ''nothing ever changes, nothing ever stays the same." For Top Rank, this is a tried and true formula.
"It has always made sense, it was Marvin Hagler in New England, Tommy Hearns in Detroit," explained the veteran promoter. "It always made sense to build the fighters with hometown support, and then the idea is that when they fight in lets say, Las Vegas, thousands of fans would come from their home town."
On July 1, heavyweight Jared 'Big Baby' Anderson will be headlining a card at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. And soon, their blue-chip lightweight prospect, will be showcased in Norfolk, Virginia. These two boxers represent the future of the company, and could possibly create two new markets.
Mikey Williams/Top Rank
"I just don't think that a lot of promoters want to put the effort coming to a new venue. It's a lot of work," said Arum, whose company does it's share of shows at casino resorts throughout the country. "It's a lot easier to go to a casino hotel and put an event on, then it is to go to an regular arena, put up everything and sell tickets."
This is prizefighting, as long as the money is right, boxers will fight anywhere. Do they even care to be built in their home cities?
According to Arum, ''the kids love it." But he warns that the timing is important for these homecomings. With the promising Anderson -- who was the co-main this past weekend in Newark -- the feeling is that the time is now for him to build a following locally.
"With Jared Anderson we reached out to the mayor, the councilwoman was at the fight, and they are more than enthusiastic. Therefore we know we would have a big reception," stated Arum. "A lot of times if you go into the home towns, and you're really not going in strong, you're going to fall on your ass -- and that really hurts the kid."
So what's next for Stevenson after his sixth round stoppage of Shuichiro Yoshino? Some of it may be contingent on what takes place on May 20.
"I have no idea what Devin Haney is going to do if he wins (against Vasiliy Lomachenko). He will probably give up the titles and move up in weight," said Arum. "If Lomachenko wins, then the fight I'd like to make is Lomachenko and Shakur."
Last week over social media, WBC junior welterweight champion, Regis Prograis, proclaimed that he was a free agent. Top Rank has a vested interest in the 140-pound class, as they are promoting a key showdown between two of their clients in Josh Taylor (the Ring Magazine champion) and Teofimo Lopez on June 10. While also having the likes of former unified champion, Jose Ramirez, and contender, Arnold Barboza.
Arum would certainly be interested in at least talking to Prograis.
"If he demonstrates to us that he is a free agent -- really a free agent -- we'd be happy to put him in the mix, and make fights for him. He's a terrific fighter."
There isn't nearly as much boxing on as there was last weekend, but there is live coverage of the card taking place at the Copper Box Arena in England on Saturday (3 pm, ET/12 pm, PT ) that features the heavyweight clash between Joe Joyce and Zhilei Zhang.
Joyce, who is the WBO interim heavyweight champion, is an entertaining fighter. Bottom line, when he's out there, I'm interested. Stuff happens when he's inside that ring. Also on this bill, is former junior lightweight champion, Mikaela Mayer, coming off her close loss to Alycia Baumgardner.
Showtime has announced a tripleheader on May 13 at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas that features the return of Rolando Romero against Albert Puello for the WBA 140-pound title...An interesting bout on this telecast has upstart Kenneth Sims paired with Batyr Akhmedov....Speaking of Taylor-Lopez, which takes place at the Theater at MSG, Top Rank has announced that Xander Zayas will face Ronald Cruz in the co-main on ESPN....Yes, I'm still stunned by the passing of Logan Roy on 'Succession'. The show will not be the same without him....I can be reached at email@example.com.....