Teofimo Lopez believes Shakur Stevenson’s decision to retire was based on his unwillingness to accept a pay cut from Top Rank after his last lackluster performance against Edwin De Los Santos.

WBO light welterweight champion Teofimo says that instead of agreeing to the pay cut, which would have been a bitter pill, three-division world champion Shakur (21- 0, 10 KOs) retired. Stevenson would have seen his earnings reduced.

Shakur’s fight with De Los Santos last November is rumored to have brought in low ticket sales at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and he was booed loudly by fans for running around the ring.

Bob Arum of Top Rank says Shakur was contacted by the WBC, who asked him if he was going to be retiring because if he was, they would take his lightweight title from him, and he said that he was not retiring.

Teofimo: Shakur Got to Take the Paycut

“After that performance, he pulled off and that stunt, Top Rank said, ‘We’re not going to pay you what had last time,’ and he said, ‘F*** this, I’m the best, and I’m going to retire with it,” said Teofimo Lopez to Fight Hub TV when asked about his thoughts on Shakur Stevenson retiring recently.

“I wish him nothing but success and the best. But you can’t, you got to take the cuts. This is what it takes,” Teofimo continued about Shakur. “They can only build us for so long, and then it comes a point where you hit the elite level.”

If Shakur accepts the reduced earnings, he can always build himself back up by performing well and taking risky fights, like Raymond Muratalla, where he could lose. That would mean Shakur would need to let his hands go and stop moving to avoid conflict.

The Road to Elite Status

“That elite level doesn’t go like this [vertical]. You got to start climbing up this way [an incline to the top]. The matchmakers and all genres of promoters and into the networks build the fighter with confidence. However, it’s not confidence until you let your hands go in the elite level. That’s when it’s confidence and cockiness.

“What is the difference-maker? A prime example is Keyshawn Davis ‘The Businessman.’ So for him, is it confidence or cockiness? We’ll find out on Thursday night,” said Teofimo.

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