By Jake Donovan
Even before his frightening 1st round knockout win over Saul Roman this past summer, Curtis Stevens (25-3, 18KO) was already targeting a showdown with unbeaten middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin.
His pursuit of the latest to wear the ‘most feared fighter on the planet’ label was as bold as was his August performance, lighting up the normally durable Roman to end things in just over two minutes. Some back and forth took place at the negotiating table, but Stevens eventually lived up to his word once the price was right, as he prepares for his first title challenge, November 2 in New York City.
As fight night draws near, the brash New Yorker remains as confident as ever of pulling off the upset. The manner in which he and his team plan to accomplish that mission remains open to debate.
“As the underdog, we don’t have anything to prove other than winning the fight,” points out Andre Rozier, Stevens’ uncle and head trainer. “The burden of proof is not on our backs. My thing is, when I first started teaching Curtis, it was to box. That’s the name of the game. It’s called boxing, not fighting.”
That said, while preferring his charge to work smart rather than hard, the possibility of ending the night early isn’t lost on the head trainer. Should it come to a slugfest, Rozier is less impressed with Golovkin’s current knockout streak (14 in a row inside the distance) than he is with his own fighter’s ability to send the crowd home early and happy.
“We’ve been viewing information about knockout percentages. I did a little science on it myself. Gennady Golovkin has five 1st round knockouts; Curtis has 11. Gennady Golovkin has two knockouts where he ended the fight on one punch. Curtis has seven knockouts that ended with one punch.
“Out of those 11 (1st round knockouts for Stevens), you have 7 who were in the super middleweight or light heavyweight division.
“Curtis has the ability to stop people with one shot. He’s able to beat people up as well and has displayed so. When you want to talk stats, Curtis is the hardest puncher in the middleweight division.”
The numbers better reflect Stevens’ pre-fight demeanor, boasting all of the patience of a double-parked limo driver.
“I’m coming to fight,” Stevens boldly proclaims. “If I have to adapt to my surroundings, then (so be it). But I’m going in there to break him down. I’m not thinking about boxing, I'm coming to crush him and take his heart, coming in to wreck the wrecking machine.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.