Shakur Stevenson will attempt to become a two-division world champion when he collides with WBO super-featherweight king Jamel Herring at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on Saturday.

New Jersey’s unbeaten Stevenson has been lauded as one of boxing’s future stars but enters the Herring fight with something to prove having won a pedestrian decision over Namibian unknown Jeremiah Nakathila in June.

On the flipside, Herring is in a rich vein of form, having swept aside Carl Frampton with surprising ease in April. Despite that career-best, sixth-round win, New Yorker Herring is viewed as much as a 5-1 outsider for Saturday’s all-southpaw battle.

So, have the bookies got it wrong or is Stevenson set to underline his star quality? Boxing Social’s intrepid band of writers and fortune tellers attempt to predict the outcome. 

Much to the shock of many fans the bookies have made Herring a huge underdog in this one. Initially, I was shocked but the more I’ve considered the nuances of the fight the more heavily I’ve swayed towards Shakur. Were boxing matches decided by personality Herring would undoubtedly be a P4P great and, like many other fans, I constantly have to rein myself in when predicting the outcome of a contest involving an incredibly likeable character who’s overcome unimaginable loss and pain.

The reality of prize fighting, however, is unforgiving. Herring’s losses have both been against southpaws and he’s struggled with opponents whose abilities pale in comparison to his impending opponent. He’s also not a volume puncher, and you’d imagine the only type of fighter who’s going to trouble Stevenson at this stage of his burgeoning career is someone who can combine experience with industry. That’s not to say the fight lacks intrigue. This is a big step up in class for Shakur and his reputation as a special talent has yet to be translated into a truly irresistible performance. Sadly for Herring, though, I fear this might just be the fight that announces the young Newark star onto the world stage. Prediction: Stevenson UD. – Phil Rogers.

Despite Herring’s impressive showing in beating Carl Frampton, you can’t help but assume he’s being sacrificed here. The writing is on the wall; Shakur Stevenson is the man who many want to fill Floyd Mayweather’s enormous shoes. I doubt he’ll ever match or eclipse Mayweather – of course – but he’s certainly got enough to beat Herring convincingly this weekend. Herring is the American hero, and he’s liked and admired by all, but this will be a hard night’s work. I’m hoping Stevenson can push the pace; his skills and slick, lateral movement are undoubted but I want to see some aggression, some punishment. He beats Herring, and I would like to see him make a statement and finish it between 9-12. – Craig Scott.

The 11/2 odds on Herring translate to an implied probability of a little over 15 per cent. That actually feels about right. Herring is not a noted puncher – despite his performance against Frampton. As Phil stated, the former Marine is not known for his work rate and likely lacks the ability to outbox Stevenson. I think Stevensonwins a wide unanimous decision. – John A. MacDonald.

Stevenson has pedigree but appears to lack the killer instinct or big punch to become the superstar he already thinks he is. Herring is one of the sport’s good guys and he will have his moments in a scrappy fight which I think a safety-first Stevenson will win on points, without ever threatening to secure a stoppage. – Luke G. Williams.

I think we’ll see a more incisive Stevenson at the weekend. Herring is a known quantity to him and the criticism that followed the Nakathila fight will sting Shakur into a more convincing performance. The more talentedStevenson will box into a clear lead before forcing an injury or retirement stoppage in the later stages of the fight. – Mark Butcher.

Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.