RIO DE JANEIRO -- Shakur Stevenson had a special guest in attendance for his second fight at the 2016 Olympics.
The rising bantamweight prospect defeated Brazilian veteran Robenilson de Jesus in his first bout in Rio de Janeiro, and hoped to have boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in the stands. "Money" Mayweather wasn’t at the Riocentro pavilion on Sunday, but was in the arena for Stevenson’s 56 kg quarterfinal clash with Mongolia’s Tsendbaatar Erdenebat on Tuesday.
"I wasn’t expecting him to come," Stevenson said after the win. "[USA Boxing PR consultant] Julie [Goldsticker] told me Floyd wasn’t going to be here, and then he jumped over the balcony talking to our coach, and I got like ‘dang, Floyd is here.’ I got excited and got a little nervous."
Mayweather left the arena right after Stevenson was announced the winner via unanimous decision, and the 19-year-old prospect revealed that the legendary boxer gave him a few tips during the contest.
"He kept saying ‘jab,’ and [my coaches] kept saying ‘go to the body,’" Stevenson said. "I heard him a lot. He has been in the same situation before, and he mastered boxing. He’s one of the greatest, so of course I gotta listen to him."
Stevenson defeated Erdenebat via unanimous decision to guarantee at least a bronze medal for the United States, but rated his performance a B-minus.
"I felt like I needed to close the show and I didn’t get to close the show as I wanted to," Stevenson said. "But next fight I’m trying to make sure that my third round is just as good as the first."
Several boxers have complained about controversial decisions during the Olympic Games and Stevenson feels he should have a different opponent in the semifinal. Vladimir Nikitin will be across the ring from him at 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, but the American feels that current world champion Michael Conlan won his quarterfinal bout. Conlan launched into an expletive-filled rant against the judges after his quarterfinals loss on Tuesday.
"I wanted to fight Conlan," Stevenson said. "I felt Conlan won his fight, honestly, but now we have to focus on the Russian."
With controversial decisions ending runs in the Olympics, Stevenson says he’s got added reason to dominate in the semifinal bout.
"I guess I gotta make it clear," he said. "I felt Conlan made it clear, honestly, but I guess the judges saw different. But I plan on going in and focusing on what I do, and not worry about judges."
Stevenson is already guaranteed a bronze and now looks to surpass Mayweather’s notorious bronze finish in the Atlanta Games. Since losing a controversial 10-9 decision for Bulgarian Serafim Todorov, which caused an official supervisor to resign in protest, Mayweather went undefeated throughout his professional career.
"I felt Floyd got robbed for the bronze medal, honestly," said Stevenson, who was only one year old when Mayweather competed in Atlanta in 1996. "I gotta stay focused and go get that gold medal."
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