By: Hans Themistode
Brooklyn, New York. Only the strong survive.
Drugs, guns, violence and death are common words that are associated with this infamous borough in New York. Love, greatness, toughness, swagger and legendary are words that are also associated with it as well.
For former, Brooklyn born, professional boxer Curtis Jones, he was on his way to his own level of his greatness, but like so many others, the streets of Brooklyn got their hands on him first.
Curtis Jones was first introduced to the sport of boxing by his mother. She wanted to find a way to turn her young sons aggression into something positive. The sport of boxing is a brutal one. Almost barbaric. Pairing up two individuals where the victor is determined by who can inflict the most damage on their opponent. It may seem crazy to most, but for Jones it suited him perfectly.
“I was always fighting as a kid. I just loved it. I’m not sure why but I was just mad at everything for no reason. I would definitely say I was a bully growing up.”
Jones was well known for his ability to beat up kids in his school and neighborhood, but he quickly found out that boxing is an entirely different level of fighting.
“I actually cried in the first round of my first ever fight,” said Jones as he recalled his first ever boxing match which took place when he was 8 years old. “My trainer at the time actually slapped me and told me this is what you asked for so suck it. It helped because in the second round I actually dropped the kid with my favorite combination which was double jab then a right hand. It was a good fight but I ended up losing a close decision.”
That loss didn’t dampen the ambition that Jones had to become a professional boxer. Instead, it propelled him to an amateur record that consisted of roughly 150 wins against just 20 losses. His impressive amateur record should come to the surprise of no one as he grew up training with some of the very best fighters of his generation including former two division world champion Zab Judah.
As the wins and trophies began to pile up, Jones realized that making a career out of boxing is exactly what he wanted. It wasn’t just because he enjoyed fighting, but it was also because of the perks that came with the territory.
“When we started going away to places like Lake Placid and Kansas City for the Silver Gloves, that’s when I really had it in the back of my head that this is what I wanted to do. I’m from Brooklyn and at the time, I had never been on a plane. I really enjoyed traveling and I knew that if I continued to not only box but win, that I could keep going away.”
The lifestyle of a young rockstar motivated Jones. As he plowed through his competition in his amateur career, the time was slowly coming for him to turn pro. At age 21, he officially made his decision to make the leap. When Jones made the choice to leave the amateur ranks and get paid for his abilities in the ring, he was given $50,000 to sign his name. It may sound like the best thing that could have happened to him, but in actuality it was the worse.
“That was probably the worse thing that could have happened to me. I was living more so like a rapper instead of a boxer. My first fight was on ESPN so I thought I was the man. I was 2-0 with 2 knockouts and I thought I was a world champion. I was just really ignorant.”
That aforementioned ignorance led to poor training habits. His lack of discipline began when he was an amateur but only worsened as a professional.
“In the amateurs I started winning tournaments without having to get in shape. I wasn’t always like that but, I learned how to win and not be in shape because I was fast, a good boxer and I could punch a little bit.”
The professional career of Jones got off to a blistering start. He managed to knockout both of his first two opponents. His third bout however, didn’t go according to plan as Jones picked up the first loss of his career. At that point, everything changed. Battles with depression along with managerial issues surfaced.
“After I picked up my first loss it took me a while to actually get another fight. It was about a year until I was able to get another opponent. I actually fell into a depression because I just couldn’t get a fight, I was literally partying all day. My promotional company also dropped me as soon as I took that loss so I had to do it all on my own. The combination of everything just sent me into a depression.
These issues reached its absolute worse as Jones made what seemed to be your typical late night trek into a corner store located in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York. What ensued now lives in infamy.
“I was going through a break up at the moment and I am a very emotional person. I think the majority of boxers are emotional because of all of the highs and lows that his game brings. I remember going into the store that night and somebody said something funny, it was two of them. I beat up one dude, I even remember exactly what I hit him with, it with a left hook, right hand and another left hook. He fell down on all of the cakes and cookies that were in the store and all of the girls were screaming in the store. His friend that was with him, didn’t wanna fight after he seen that.”
There is absolutely no excuse for it. As a professional fighter, the actions that were taken by Jones that night could have had a far worse outcome. Thankfully, no fatal injuries took place on that grim night. Many of Jones associates found it amusing. However, for the Brooklyn born fighter, there was nothing to laugh about as the criticism grew.
“I was actually embarrassed by it. I really felt bad that all of those things were said especially from Max Kellerman. A few dudes thought it was funny like Andre Berto but I did feel bad.
Now, over 10 years later, Curtis Jones has finally gotten a chance to speak his side of the story and explain why that notorious night happened.
“It was more than just a break up but that did play a part in it. More than anything, I was just angry. At the time I was only about 23 or 24 and my boxing career was already over. I was just so mad about that.”
It wasn’t the ending that he wanted, but Jones has learned to deal with it. At age 35, Jones is now passing on what he knows to the kids he teaches at the famed Gleason’s Gym, in New York. Unlike many former fighters who have faded into the shadows and forgotten, Jones is a constant fixture in the gym and well respected in the boxing community.
“A lot of people have an incredible amount of respect for me and show love such as Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. I appreciate those guys looking at me with that level of respect because I know growing up I probably wouldn’t have had that same amount of appreciation for older fighters. It definitely means a lot to me and I got love for all of those guys.”
Curtis Jones didn’t accomplish the level of success inside of the boxing ring that he wanted but he has achieved something far more important outside of it, respect.
If you are in NYC, Curtis Jones is available for boxing lessons at the world famous Gleason’s Gym. [email protected]
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Lemieux vs. Stevens, Gamboa vs. Alvarado
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens will meet in the main event of an HBO Boxing After Dark card in the active and exciting middleweight division. This bout will take place at the Turning Stone Resort Casino live in Verona, New York.
Yuriorkis Gamboa, and recent Golden Boy Promotions signee, will be fighting in the co-main event of the night and will be facing Rene Alvarado in the junior lightweight division.
Several other high level prospects will be fighting on the untelevised undercard, including boxers such as Zachary Ochoa, Diego De La Hoya, and Damon Allen Jr.
The following is a preview of both of the televised bouts.
Yuriorkis Gamboa (25-1) vs. Rene Alvarado (24-7); Junior Lightweight
Gamboa has been very inactive since he left Top Rank Promotions to sign with the short lived boxing promotional company ran by 50 Cent. He only fought once in 2015 and did not fight at all in 2016. He’s since signed with Golden Boy Promotions and looks to get his career back on track, and Golden Boy has picked the perfect opponent for him to shake off the ring rust.
Alvarado is seven years younger than Gamboa and will have an inch and a half height advantage as well as a seven inch reach advantage. He also fought twice in 2016 and five times in 2015 and has been considerably more active than Gamboa. However, his advantages stop there.
Gamboa has seventeen knockout victories while Alvarado has sixteen. Gamboa went 4-1 in his past five fights with only one stoppage victory while Alvarado went 2-3 in his past five fights.
Gamboa clearly has the better professional and amateur resume. He’s a former Olympic Gold Medalist and has defeated the likes of Hylon Williams Jr., Darleys Perez, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jorge Solis, Orlando Salido, Jonathan Victor Barros, and Jose Rojas.
The only big win of Alvarado’s career was against Jayson Velez. He has losses to the likes of Manuel Avila, Andrew Cancio, Joseph Diaz, Eric Hunter, Rocky Juarez, Jezreel Corrales, and Orlando Rizo.
The inactivity would be a bigger concern for Gamboa if he was facing a tougher opponent, but Alvarado lost to nearly every big name opponent he has ever faced and Saturday will be no different.
David Lemieux (36-3) vs. Curtis Stevens (29-5); Middleweight
Lemieux and Stevens are both hard hitting middleweights with knockout power who put on exciting fights for their fans. They both also suffered stoppage defeats to the current middleweight kingpin, Gennady Golovkin.
This is a must win fight for both boxers if they want to fight for a world title in the near future. Lemieux will have about a two and a half inch height advantage but will be giving up an inch and a half in reach to Stevens. Lemieux is three years younger than Stevens and has been more active. Lemieux fought twice in 2015 and twice in 2016 while Stevens fought twice in 2016 and zero times in 2015.
They both has successful amateur careers as Lemieux was a three time Canadian Amateur Champion while Stevens was the 2002 US Amateur Light Heavyweight Champion.
Lemieux and Stevens are both known for their power, but Lemieux has to be given the edge in this department. He has stopped thirty two of his opponents while Stevens has stopped twenty one. They both can be stopped as Stevens was stopped twice in his career while Lemieux has two stoppage losses.
Lemieux has beaten the likes of Glen Tapia, Hasan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Hernando Guerrero, Jose Miguel Torres, Elvin Ayala, and Hector Camacho Jr. His losses were to Gennady Golovkin, Jachim Alcine, and Marco Antonio Rubio.
Stevens has defeated the likes of James De La Rosa, Patrick Teixeira, Tureano Johnson, Patrick Majewski, Saul Roman, Elvin Ayala, and Darnell Boone. His losses were to losses to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gennady Golovkin, Jesse Brinkley, Andre Dirrell, Marcos Primera (later avenged).
This could be a very entertaining fight, but Lemieux has the stronger amateur background, appears to be the stronger puncher, and has been considerably more active than Stevens recently. Stevens could win by stoppage, but momentum is on Lemieux’s side.
HBO PPV Undercard Results: Curtis Stevens and Oleksandr Gvozdyk Emerge Victorious, and Hooker Draws with Perez
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s HBO PPV card featuring a main event betweenSergey Kovalev and Andre Ward for the Light Heavyweight Championship.
Three bouts were featured on the undercard, and the opening bout was between Curtis Stevens (28-5) and James De La Rosa (23-4) in the middleweight division.
De La Rosa was rocked by a rising left hook from Stevens in the first round and he was on the defensive for most of the opening round. Stevens was able to land a left hook that knocked De La Rosa in the last thirty seconds of the round, but De La Rosa was able to get back to his feet.
De La Rosa had a cut by his left eye in the second round and took heavy shots to the body. However, he was able to start to land his jab in the last minute of the round.
Both fighters let it all fly in the third round and both landed several hard combinations. Stevens got the better of De La Rosa and landed the stronger shots, but he may have spent all of his energy.
De La Rosa began to relay on his jab in the fourth round and was able to keep Stevens at bay, and that jab continued to be successful for De La Rosa in the fifth and sixth rounds and even had Stevens trapped in a corner at multiple points.
De La Rosa looked like the fresher fighter in the seventh round and Stevens was short with most of his punches. Stevens crowded v in the eighth and was able to land some heavy hooks to the body, but he was deducted a point by the referee for landing a low blow.
The announcers felt Stevens may have hurt his left hand in the ninth round since he wasn’t throwing his patented left hook counter like he usually does. The HBO cameras were able to capture Stevens telling his trainer he hurt his left hand in the fourth round
Stevens pressed the action in the final round and landed some heavy shots over the top of De La Rosa’s guard which reopened the cut of De La Rosa, but it was De La Rosa who was raising his hands in the air at the final bell as if he won the fight.
The final scores were 98-90, 96-92, and 96-92 for Curtis Stevens.
The next bout of the night was in the light heavyweight division between Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0).
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Gvozdyk was backing Chilemba up early with his contant jab. Chilema was able to land his check left hook near the end of the round, but it could have been scored either way.
Chilemba was missing with his hooks in the second round while Gvozdyk was finding a home for his right cross. Gvozdyk was landing at a higher clip than Chilemba in the third round, and he had Chilemba covering up in a defensive shell with his back against the ropes while Gvozdyk unleashed several combinations on him.
Chilemba had a strong fifth round and was able to land some short uppercuts on the inside, but Gvozdyk took back over in the sixth round and looked like he was wearing his opponent down.
Gvozdyk outworked Chilemba in the seventh round and Roy Jones Jr. threatened to stop the fight if he didn’t pick up the action in the eighth round. Chilemba was able to catch Gvozdyk by surprise in the opening thirty seconds of the eighth round, but Gvozdyk took back over in the final minute and had Chilemba’s nose bleeding badly.
Chilemba told his trainer, Roy Jones Jr., before the start of the ninth round that he was done and couldn’t fight anymore, and Jones told the referee the fight was over. Chilemba believed his right hand was broken.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk wins by TKO at the end of the eighth round.
The final fight on the undercard was between Maurice Hooker (21-0-2) and Darleys Perez (33-2-1) in the junior welterweight division.
Hooker was a lot taller than Perez and used it to his advantage by keeping a jab in the face of Perez in the opening round. However, Perez looked comfortable with Hooker’s power in the second round and was able to catch Hooker by surprise with some well timed hooks, and he had him hurt in the opening minute of the third round with a clean looping right hook.
Perez appeared to score a knockdown in the fourth round when he tagged Hooker with a right cross and sent him tumbling backwards and to the mat, but the referee ruled it a slip.
Hooker had a good fifth round with an active jab, but Perez again caught Hooker with looping right hooks in the sixth round.
Perez remained the aggressor in the seventh round and took some of Hooker’s best punches but kept on moving forward. Perez remained the aggressor in the eighth round and had Hooker circling away from his opponent and moving backwards.
The final two rounds played out like the earlier rounds, with Perez pressing forward and landing an occasional right hook or right cross while Hooker would land a number of jabs while moving backwards.
A lot of rounds could have been scored either way, but the judges appeared to agree by scoring the fight 97-93 Perez, 97-93 Hooker, 95-95 making the bout a draw.
HBO PPV Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, Hooker vs. Perez, Chilemba vs. Gvozdyk, Stevens vs. De La Rosa
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Roc Nation Sports and Main Events Promotions will team up to deliver one of the best fights that could be made in boxing on HBO Pay Per View. The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title fight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.
Ten fights total are featured on this card, including the highly anticipated debut of two time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields.
HBO appears to be ready to televise four fights on the pay per view, and the following is a preview of all four bouts.
Curtis Stevens (28-5) vs. James De La Rosa (23-4); Middleweights
This bout is on the pay per view card despite the fact it’s highly unlikely that either participant will be fighting for a world title in the near future.
Curtis Stevens is a fan favorite and shocked many in his last bout when he beat undefeated prospect Patrick Teixeira.
He’ll be giving up ½ inch in reach and about three inches in height to De La Rosa. However, he has faced significantly better competition and has a deep amateur background than his opponent.
De La Rosa lost his last two fights and only has thirteen knockout victories. Stevens has twenty one knockout victories and is known for delivering exciting bouts.
Both boxers only fought one time in 2016, zero times in 2015, and three times in 2014.
Stevens has beaten the likes of Patrick Teixeira, Tureano Johnson, Patrick Majewski, Saul Roman, Derrick Findley, and Elvin Ayala. He has lost to the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Andre Dirrell and Jesse Brinkley. De La Rosa has defeated the likes of Alfredo Angulo but has lost to the likes of Jason Quigley, Hugo Centeno Jr., Marcus Willis, and Allen Conyers.
Stevens has been inconsistent throughout his career, but this is a bout that he should win in a fan pleasing fashion.
Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2) vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0); Light Heavyweights
Not many boxers can claim to have lasted twelve rounds with Sergey Kovalev, and Isaac Chilemba is one of them.
However, he’s facing a highly decorated Ukranian amateur that is managed by Egis Klimas, who has an impressive stable of boxers under his control, and many consider Gvozdyk to be future world champion material.
Gvozdyk has nine stoppage victories in only eleven professional bouts and is a 2012 Summer Olympics Bronze medalist. Chilemba has ten stoppage victories in thirty professional bouts, so Gvozdyk has a clear edge in power. Chilemba also does not have the amateur experience of Gvozdyk.
Gvozdyk will be the same height as Chilemba but will also have a two and a half inch reach advantage. They are of the same age. Gvozdyk has also been considerably more active than Chilemba. He fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015, while Chilemba only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Gvozdyk has already defeated the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi and Tommy Karpency before he has faced his twelfth opponent. Chilemba has defeated the likes of Doudou Ngumbu, Maksim Vlasov, Edison Miranda, Denis Grachev, and Vasily Lepikhin; but he has also lost to the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, Tony Bellew, and Willbeforce Shihepo.
Chilemba is a tough opponent with a strong chin, but he’s not on the same level of technique as Gvozdyk and he doesn’t have the power to score an upset knockout.
This should be a good showcase fight for Gvozdyk to show off his skills.
Maurice Hooker (21-0-2) vs. Darleys Perez (33-2-1); Junior Welterweights
Maurice Hooker is one of the most intriguing prospects on the undercard, as his reach and height has many people comparing him to Paul Williams.
Hooker will have a four inch height advantage as well as an amazing ten inch reach advantage over Perez. He’s also six years younger than Perez.
Hooker is known for being a hard puncher and has stopped sixteen of his opponents. Perez has twenty one stoppage victories, but his best days appear to be behind him.
Hooker fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016 while Perez fought one time in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Perez has the edge in amateur experience. He represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Hooker’s biggest claim to fame in the amateurs was when he won the Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Championship.
This bout is a big step up in competition for Hooker. He has defeated the likes of Ty Barnett, Wilfrido Buelvas, and Eduardo Galindo. Perez has beaten the likes of Argenis Lopez, Jonathan Maicelo, and Jaider Parra. His losses have come to Anthony Crolla and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Perez was the former WBA Lightweight champion, but he’ll be competing at a higher weight class on Saturday and will be facing a good opponent with a ridiculous reach advantage.
The ten inch reach advantage will be too much for Perez to overcome.
Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1) vs. Andre Ward (30-0); WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title
The main event of the night is one of the best fights that could be made in boxing today and the winner will likely have a claim to the top pound for pound spot on the mythical list.
Kovalev, at the age of 33, and Ward, at the age of 32, are nearing the end of their physical primes but neither have shown signs of slowing down inside the ring.
They both are six foot tall, but Kovalev will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage when they are both inside the ring.
Ward has the deeper amateur background of the two as he won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2004. Kovalev also had success as an amateur and was a former Russian Champion as an amateur, but he never competed in the Olympics and was engaged intense competition with two other Russian amateur standouts, Matt Korobov and Artur Beterbiev.
Kovalev has the edge in power. He has stopped twenty six of his opponents while Ward has only stopped fifteen. However, Ward is a gifted defensive boxer and is excellent with his counters, and Kovalev often leaves himself open for counters after he throws one of his heavy combinations.
Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, Ismayl Sillah, Cedric Agnew, and Gabriel Campillo. He has fought twice in 2015 and once in 2016.
Ward has fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Paul Smith, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carlo Froch, Artur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, and Edison Miranda.
This is a tough fight for many to pick, mainly because Ward has never faced a power puncher like Kovalev and Kovalev has never faced a slick boxer like Ward.
However, Ward’s jab is his best weapon and he’ll likely use it often to keep Kovalev at bay. History has shown that a slick boxer will usually beat a power puncher if everything else is reason, and Saturday should be no different.
Money Woes Reportedly Not The Reason Lemieux Won’t Be Facing Stevens
By: Sean Crose
Many in the boxing community have been frustrated with reports that came out this weekend claiming middleweight David Lemieux would not be facing Curtis Stevens because HBO’s budget couldn’t support such a matchup. Stevens himself appeared particularly perturbed, via his Twitter page. “Money wasn’t even spoken about,” he Tweeted. Yet Camille Estephan, the president of Eye of the Tiger management, which represents Lemiex, offered another take entirely. “It would be erroneous to say that HBO could not afford to pay the fighters,” Estephan claimed via email.
Indeed, Estephan, who responded to a query from Boxing Insider quickly, went on to provide more details. “It was really more a matter of timing,” he stated, “as Lemieux who was supposed to initially fight at the end of September had to be operated on his right knee which delayed his capacity to fight.” All of this, Estephan went on, led to problems related more to the calendar than to finances. “The October 22nd date was the only date available at the Bell center,” Estephan went on. “So essentially it was a matter of timing.”
And, sure enough Lemiuex will be facing Cristian Rios on the 22nd of October, at the Bell Center in Montreal, Lemieux’s stomping grounds, and a contemporary boxing hotbed. The 35-3 Lemiuex will be fighting for the second time this year. Last autumn the Canadian slugger met and was stopped by middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin in a New York City based pay per view event. Although Argentina’s Rios isn’t well known at 21-7-3, he apparently is able to face Lemiuex at the designated time and place.
Having said that, many were hoping to see Lemieux face the exciting Stevens, who himself was stopped by GGG a few years back. Both Stevens and Lemieux are world class tough guys, after all, and few believed a bout between the two would ever be a snooze fest – and for good reason. Needless to say, both men want to make themselves be heard at middleweight once again. What’s more, both Lemieux and Stevens are held in high regard by fans, as neither one was afraid to face Golovkin, a man who many feel is currently being avoided by some of the middleweight division’s top players.
As for HBO, it has been far from a banner year for its boxing programming. Reputed budged cuts have been blamed for its recent slump, with some even feeling the network has lost interest in boxing altogether. With that in mind, HBO will be airing a major card in just a few days featuring Golovkin and Kell Brook battling for the middleweight title. Time, as always, will tell the tale as to where HBOs relationship with the sweet science will ultimately go.
Get a Grip, Billy Joe Saunders
By: Brandon Bernica
Billy Joe Saunders reminds me of Gollum from The Hobbit. Just as with Saunders’ belt, Gollum’s ring infatuates him with illusions of grandeur. Both are so committed to their prized possessions that their sanities hinge on protecting their gold at all times.
Truthfully, Saunders rejecting big-name fights is indicative of this nature. In fact, it isn’t lofty to suggest that he masquerades as a false champion with delusional sensibilities.
First, Gennady Golovkin offered him a lucrative deal to unify titles – even ceding home turf advantage to Saunders for the fight. That wasn’t enough money for Billy Joe. Soon after, Golden Boy presented him with contracts to fight Golovkin victims Curtis Stevens and Willie Monroe. Both were turned down for unknown reasons.
At this point, you’d probably assert that nothing could top these levels of avoidance from a “champion”. Think again. After reviewing terms to fight middleweight journeyman Gabe Rosado on the Canelo vs. Smith undercard, Saunders passed on the bout because Rosado is not a strong enough name to add to his resumé. While shocking, Saunders’ decisions signal bad news for the outlook on the rest of his career.
Saunders’ career can fall into one of two directions from this point. One outcome of his stingy micromanagement could be a refusal of any big names to fight with him. While Saunders appears content to guard his belt against heavily outmatched opponents, he’ll eventually need a star fighter to bring him money and public respect. As they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
But what if an inverse scenario is true? What if big names prey on him, sensing the fear underlying his steady diet of match rejections? At some point, either public pressure or a sanctioning organization will force him into one of these fights, which could leave him exposed and stripped of marketability. By then, it will be too late to return to the negotiating table with the big boys with his career heading towards a sharp descent, leaving him little more than a cautionary tale.
Sadly, Saunders’ unwillingness to fight only points to a common trend in today’s boxing world: fighters search for the highest reward while incurring the lowest risk. Floyd Mayweather made a career off of maximizing his earning potential without consistently challenging himself against the best. Mayweather utilized a bevy of excuses in rationalizing his behavior, and now other fighters are following suit. Note to the boxing world: you are not entitled. You made your name off of cutting your teeth and dedication; to give up this edge is a lead-in to disaster.
Saunders didn’t start out the tepid fighter he is now. His road to notoriety crossed through fellow up-and-comer Chris Eubank Jr and former world champion Andy Lee, winning both of his fights impressively en route to prominence. But the road to respect in boxing doesn’t end overnight. It endures night after night of painstaking work. Saunders will never win the adulation of boxing fans until he embraces this grind. Here’s hoping that that happens soon.
Curtis Stevens Interview: “I just gotta let go of my hands and do what I do”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Curtis Stevens (27-5 20KO) is a hard hitting Middleweight from Brownsville, NY, who on May 7th, will return to the ring after a 2 year layoff to take on undefeated Patrick Teixeira. This is a great opportunity for both men to showcase their skills on the Canelo v. Khan HBO Pay per View, especially for Stevens, who looks to right the ship and get back into title contention. Curtis was nice enough to take some time out of his training schedule and sit down to answer some questions for Boxing Insider.
Boxing Insider: Your last fight was in October 2014. Why has it taken you so long to get a fight and what have you been doing in that time?
Curtis Stevens: Nobody wanted to fight me, to tell you the truth. I’ve been training, that’s about it. Just training and working, can’t really do nothing else.
Boxing Insider: Recently, you started training with John David Jackson. What has he been able to add or change to your style of fighting?
Curtis Stevens: Getting me back to moving my head. Not blocking too many shots with my hands or my arms. Going back to the body and just being more relaxed.
Boxing Insider: You are represented by Main Events Promotions and they have had trouble matching you up with other fighters. Do you see that as a promotional problem or do you see anywhere else you could go to get more fights in your weight class?
Curtis Stevens: I’m not gonna say, necessarily, that it is a promotional problem. I believe I’m high risk. People know that I hit hard and I’m high risk and low reward. Nobody wants to get into it and waste their time.
Boxing Insider: In between regular boxing matches, you participated in a BKB pit style match. What are your thoughts on that format and would you do it again?
Curtis Stevens: BKB is cool, it’s different, and it’s more fighting than anything. It’s very different than boxing. I’d do it again, I liked it. The first time I got in there it was a little unusual, because it doesn’t have ropes like a ring. It was a little different, but cool, I’d do it again.
Boxing Insider: Changing gears to the fight on May 7th. What do you know about your opponent Patrick Teixeira?
Curtis Stevens: From what I’ve seen of him, he throws a lot of punches. He comes forward, and it seems like he likes to fight. His work rate is cool, and that’s what I can see.
Boxing Insider: Do you have to make a big statement in this fight to get to where you want to be, as a title contender?
Curtis Stevens: I believe I just have to go in there and beat him in general. I’m not the one with no losses. I believe it’s more on his shoulders then on my shoulders. I just got to go in there and win. I’m the one that’s been in the ring the longest, so he is the one coming up. They are giving him this pedestal to overcome me. The pressure is on him. I just gotta let go of my hands and do what I do.
Boxing Insider: Finally, who do you have winning in the main event on May 7th, Canelo or Khan?
Curtis Stevens: This is boxing, Canelo is very strong, and Khan is very fast. It only takes 7 ounces of pressure to put you down or get knocked out in general. If you don’t see it coming, it could hurt you, or if you see it coming it could hurt you. I have Canelo winning. He is strong and he’s versatile. He’s the champion, to beat the champion, you have to beat him convincingly. I’m not saying I can’t see Khan beat him convincingly, but his chin is not too great.