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Shakur Stevenson believes Frank Martin is more interested in protecting his record than fighting for a world title

Shakur Stevenson. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Lightweight contender Shakur ‘Fearless’ Stevenson 20-0 (10) is at his wits’ end trying to find an opponent willing to face him.

The 26-year-old Newark southpaw will fight for the vacant WBC title against Dominican lefty Edwin De Los Santos 16-1 (14) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 16, but it has been a long road to get there.

Earlier this month the WBC designated Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 30-0 (15) as “champion in recess”, freeing up their title to be contested between their two leading contenders: Stevenson and Frank ‘The Ghost’ Martin 18-0 (12).

The WBC ordered a purse bid but a financial agreement was reached before things got that far. And then almost as soon as news broke that the fight was made, Martin mysteriously withdrew with no explanation.

It is not uncommon for boxers to claim they are ducked, dodged and avoided, but in Stevenson’s case it seems truer than most.

The former WBO featherweight and WBC and WBO super featherweight champion was asked about the situation by Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast.

“I think Frank Martin got cold feet,” Stevenson said. “I think before the fight was signed, it sounded good, everything sounded good, but once the fight came to fruition, I feel he got real nervous and didn’t want to fight me no more. I think he got real nervous.

“His excuse and his reasoning, he’ll tell you that it wasn’t enough money. But truthfully speaking, it was quadruple more than what he’s made his entire career.

“The numbers he done made the highest was $250,000. That fight he would’ve fought for the world title and he would’ve fought for a million dollars. So, $250,000 four times gives you a million dollars and that would’ve been the most money he would’ve ever made in his career.”

Southpaw Martin, 28, has been built into a solid contender in recent years with televised bouts and a strong marketing push to establish his credentials in the eyes of the fans.

In his last two bouts he took the zeroes of previously undefeated pair Artem Harutyunyan 12-1 (7) and Michel Rivera 24-1 (14) in Las Vegas in the past year.

Along with the money issues, Stevenson believes it was Martin’s fear of failure that drove his decision to walk away from his first world title shot.

“I don’t think fighters want to lose,” Stevenson continued. “I think deep down inside he know that I’m one of the best fighters in boxing and like I said, I don’t think he wanted to lose. I think when it came down to it, if he was going to take an L, he wanna make 10 times more than he ever made in his career. I guess four times is not enough.

“I’m a fighter. I would never turn down quadruple more than I ever made in my entire career for a world title. I would never, never do that.”