Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Curtis Stevens: The Fall and Rise of a Chin Checker

By Thomas Gerbasi

If you weren’t around New York City in 2004-05, you probably wouldn’t understand, but during that period, there wasn’t anything bigger coming out of the Big Apple boxing scene than Curtis Stevens and Jaidon Codrington, buddies who were collectively known as The Chin Checkers.

There was a buzz in the air, hip-hop heavyweights Chris Gotti and Damon Dash were making their presence known as manager and co-promoter, respectively, and local venues were being packed every time the two fought. It was a heady time to be a 20-year-old knockout artist.

“I was fighting every month, fighting two times a month, selling out the Hammerstein Ballroom, and just knocking people out, being the talk of the town, and one of the up and coming prospects in the New York area,” said Stevens, now 28, of those days.

It’s hard to believe that it was eight years ago, but time waits for no one, especially not prizefighters, and the crushing blows that spelled an end to The Chin Checkers came fast, starting in late 2005. First the 9-0 Codrington got knocked out in 18 seconds by Allan Green in a Showtime-televised bout. Eight months later, the 13-0 Stevens got stopped in eight rounds by journeyman Marcos Primera.

With the duo’s air of invincibility shattered, the buzz faded.

Codrington found daylight by making it to the finals of The Contender reality show in 2007 before getting stopped by Sakio Bika, but the fire was largely gone, and though he recently won a fight in August and has one scheduled in Ukraine on November 9th, his day job isn’t boxing anymore, but as an Atlanta police officer.

Stevens fought on as well, losing disappointing bouts to Andre Dirrell (2007) and Jesse Brinkley (2010) in between eight wins before managerial and promotional issues put him on the shelf from 2010 to 2012. Losing two prime years was a tougher blow to take than anything he absorbed in the ring, and seeing the boxing world pass him by wasn’t easy.

“You’re watching everybody you fought in the amateurs fighting for world titles, becoming world champions, fighting on HBO, fighting on Showtime, and I’m just sitting there saying ‘damn, when is my time gonna occur? When is this finally gonna be over?’” he said. “So I just made a promise to myself that when I did get out of the contract, I was going to dedicate everything to boxing.”

When Stevens made his return in March of 2012 with a first round TKO of Romaro Johnson, it was a low-key affair, but it was also in a new weight class – middleweight. And the difference was notable, even if the opposition wasn’t.

“When I first turned pro I was fighting at light heavyweight, then to super middleweight, and now middleweight, and it was just the right time and the right thing to do,” he said. “I always should have been fighting at middleweight, but I can’t really point to a reason why I wasn’t fighting there at the time. It was probably because I fought at light heavyweight my whole amateur career and I was so used to fighting at the heavier weight. But I was so hungry coming off the two year layoff that I was willing to go in there and sacrifice everything.”

And beyond the physical benefits of bringing the power that knocked 168 and 175-pounders out down to 160 pounds, Stevens sounds more focused, more determined, more eager to make a mark in this sport, and on Saturday, following three more wins after the Johnson fight, he gets his chance when he faces Gennady Golovkin for the WBA middleweight title.

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said of his rise, fall, and rise. “I believe that my setback was the Brinkley fight. After I lost that fight I believe I needed that to humble myself more. Without no test, there’s no testimony, so I believe that was my test and on November 2nd will be my testimony, becoming champ of the world.”

Oddly enough, he even gives credit to his layoff for helping to push him to this point.

“I believe my two years off kept me afloat. It helped me in a good way, and in a bad way as well because I was off for two years and I didn’t fight,” he said. “Maybe if I had fought in those two years I probably would have been world champion already, but God has a plan for everybody and everything happens for a reason, so I took the two years off, got my mind back right, and here I am fighting for the title.”

On paper, Golovkin-Stevens is one of those fights that will be explosive and short. Whoever lands clean first may be the one walking away with the belt, and while popular opinion has “GGG” being the one leaving New York City victorious, Stevens is a live underdog who has every intention of proving the doubters wrong.

“Now I’m back at it again, and this is my opportunity to shock and prove everybody wrong who think I’m just gonna go in there and get run over by Golovkin,” he said. “You must have forgot who I was and what I can do.”

In the lead-up to the fight, Stevens hasn’t been shy about letting people know what he plans on doing Saturday night, but at the same time, there is certainly respect there from the Brooklynite toward the champion.

“He’s somebody that comes to fight, he means business, he’s a strong man, and he likes to fight,” said Stevens of Golovkin. “It’s boxing, so you’ve got to love to fight to be in the sport. He knocks people out the way I do, and he’s a good fighter.”

Stevens knows that he’ll have to be more than good to win the title though, and as fight night approaches, you have to wonder how he’s keeping everything together, especially since he’s fighting on his home turf at the Madison Square Garden Theater.

“In my eyes you don’t keep everything together,” he admits. “You just let everything flow. The closer it gets to the fight, I get more anxious, I get more mad, I get more evil and edgy. This is something that I dreamed about since I was eight years old and stepped in the ring for the first time, and here’s my time, right now, so I just gotta grab it.”

That’s a lot of pressure, knowing that a childhood dream is on the doorstep; perhaps even more so considering that Stevens is getting a second chance many fighters don’t get. He knows where he’s been and where he’s at, though. Now it’s just a question of finding out where he’s going.

“I think about it every night,” he said of winning the belt. “Some nights there’s anxiety from thinking about it too much and I don’t get good sleep because it’s something I always said I wanted. And to be here and to have it in my grasp, it’s amazing. So in my mind I’m saying, you’ve just got to grab it. You’re either gonna give it up or go in there and take it right out of his hands. Come November 2nd, I’m gonna be great.”

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Sam Donald on 11-02-2013

curtis stevens will ko ggg tonight

Comment by RINGG on 11-02-2013

A cinderella story but he rides home in the pumpkin.

Comment by PunchyPotorff on 11-02-2013

[QUOTE=SkillspayBills;13893242]I **** you not, Chin Checkers were the hottest thing going when I was in high school. People that didn't even watch boxing knew who they were. I was such a big fan it truly crushed me when Jaidon got…

Comment by Ravens Fan on 11-02-2013

[QUOTE=SUBZER0ED;13892447]True, but Dawson had already been exposed by the time he fought Stevenson. It began with Pascal. Despite Dawson having his moments in that fight, he got hurt a few times and lost on the scorecards after a head-butt cut…

Comment by PunchyPotorff on 11-01-2013

Quote: Originally Posted by Earl Hickey View Post I have no idea why this bum has any hype at all he was schooled by Jessie Brinkley. Jessie ****ING Brinkley [QUOTE=richardt;13892048]Adonis Stevenson was knocked out by clubfighter Boone and people said…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (34)
Top Headlines Team Fury: Hughie Suffered Lower Back Injury, Not Medically Fit Amir Khan To Keith Thurman: Forget Porter, Fight Me! Kazuto Ioka Shines To Retain WBA Belt, Tapales Wins By TKO Billy Joe Saunders Not Impressed, Vows To Expose Khurtsidze Photos: Oscar Valdez Beats Miguel Marriaga in a Grueling War Photos: Jermell Charlo With BRUTAL Knockout of Charles Hatley Photos: Martin Murray, Gabe Rosado Nearly Brawl Over Scores Photos: Shawn Porter Drops, Mauls Andre Berto For TKO Win Photos: Avtandil Khurtsidze Crushes Tommy Langford in Five Photos: Arthur Abraham Defeats Krasniqi To Secure WBO Shot Billy Joe Saunders vs. Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8, Copper Box Kevin Lerena vs. Sergio Ramirez at Emperors Palace Anthony Joshua Sees No Reason To Fight in U.S. To Raise Profile Gilberto Ramirez Ready For Golovkin Next: Just Send The Contract! Jermell Charlo: Jarrett Hurd Took My Brother's Title - We Can Unify Keith Thurman: Porter Fought His Way To Earning a Rematch Carlos Castro Stays Undefeated with Decision Over Palacios Oscar Valdez Drops, Decisions Miguel Marriaga in Tough Fight Joseph Parker's Promoter Does Not Believe Hughie Fury is Injured Gilberto Ramirez Dominates Max Bursak To Retain WBO Title Shawn Porter Stops Andre Berto in Nine To Earn Thurman Shot Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Jermell Charlo Knocks Charles Hatley Unconscious In 6th Round Parker's Promoter is Furious: Hughie Fury Claims He is Injured! Shakur Stevenson Makes Pro Debut, Beats Brito in Five Rounds Serrano Stops Santana; Becomes 5-Division Women’s Champ Andre Berto vs. Shawn Porter - CompuBox Historical Review Jessie Magdaleno Destroys Adeilson Dos Santos in Two Rounds Magdaleno: I'm Hungrier Now, Holding This Belt For Many Years Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury is OFF - Confirms WBO President LIVE Top Rank Tripleheader Results From StubHub in Carson Krzysztof Zimnoch Demolishes Michael Grant in Two Rounds Martin Murray Beats Gabe Rosado, Who Loses Temper Over Scores Khurtsidze Blasts Tommy Langford To Earn Billy Joe Saunders Arthur Abraham Punishes Robin Krasniqi, Wins WBO Eliminator Dalakian, Yegorov, Yefimovich Win WBA Title Bouts in Kiev Marriaga: Valdez Not Invincible; I'll Knock Crown Off His Head Otto Wallin Drills Gianluca Mandras in Five To Win WBA Regional Tom Farrell Beats Tommy Carus, Retains WBA Regional Juan Carlos Reveco, Jorge Sebastian Heiland Win Big in Argentina
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement