Blue-chip featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson is on his third opponent in two weeks.
After a second opponent dropped out, Stevenson will take on former world title challenger Alberto Guevara when Stevenson makes his hometown professional debut at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on July 13 in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10:30 p.m. with preliminaries streaming on ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m. ET), Top Rank announced on Friday.
Stevenson (11-0, 6 KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, who turned 22 on June 28, was initially scheduled to fight Miami-based Cuban Hairon Socarras (22-0-3, 13 KOs) in the scheduled 10-round bout, but he dropped out over various unspecified issues. Socarras was quickly replaced last week by Venezuela native Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs), a former junior featherweight world title challenger. But then Manzanilla pulled out of the fight earlier this week, leaving Top Rank to scramble again.
"I was notified on Tuesday night that Manzanilla had flu-like symptoms. In July. In Mexico, (where he was training), where it's 100 degrees. OK. Whatever," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN without hiding his skepticism about the reason for the withdrawal. "So the show must go on. Luckily, Guevara was training. I know he was training because their side did not ask for us to move the weight up (from 126 pounds)."
Stevenson said he was unfazed by the change of opponents.
"I give Alberto Guevara credit for taking this fight when so many fighters won't step into the ring with me," Stevenson said. "He's been in there with some great fighters, even world champions, but nothing can prepare him for me. No matter the opponent, I am going to put on a special performance for my hometown and everyone watching on ESPN on July 13."
Guevara (27-4, 12 KOs), 28, of Mexico, twice challenged for bantamweight world titles, losing a unanimous decision to Leo Santa Cruz in 2012 in Los Angeles and getting knocked out in the ninth round by Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2013 in Japan.
Guevara is 9-2 since the loss to Yamanaka with the losses both coming by 10-round decision to Emmanuel Rodriguez (who would go on to win a bantamweight world title) in June 2016 in Hollywood, Florida, and former junior featherweight world titlist Hugo Ruiz in his most recent bout in January in Las Vegas.
"When I was offered this fight, I did not hesitate," Guevara said. "I want to fight the best, and Shakur Stevenson is a very good young fighter. The hometown crowd will not faze me. I'm coming to shock the boxing world."