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Curtis Stevens: “I am ready to take over the middleweight division and be world champion.”

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“Some people get the Sugar Ray [Leonard] road. Some people get the Hagler road. I’d rather have the Hagler role. Some people are made champions. Some people have to fight to be champion. I have to fight to be a champion. To each his own. I don’t want anything given to me anyway so I’ll take it. That’s what I’m going to do. Take what I want,” middleweight contender Curtis Stevens told Maxboxing.com earlier this week.


Stevens faces Saul Roman Saturday on NBC Sports Network Fight Night series promoted by Main Events at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT over 10-rounds for the NABF middleweight belt. A win for 24-3, (17) Stevens goes on towards a title shot. A loss and it’s Rebuild City for the exciting power puncher. At age 28 Stevens has no time to waste on the long hard road that leads out of Brownsville, NY to the bright lights of the upper echelons of the middleweight division.


“I began boxing when I was five years old,” said Stevens. “My uncle brought me to the gym. He didn’t want me to grow a bad kid so he brought me in. I liked it. I had my first fight when I was eight years old. From there I just continued boxing.”


A talented amateur and natural fighter, Stevens fights out of one of the most storied and hard boxing luck sections of New York: Brownsville. Perhaps it is here that Stevens learned to persevere in the face of setbacks.


“Brownsville is tough in general. You got to survive. Like the jungle. It’s dangerous. It’s like the jungle in that you have to survive. Mainly,” said Stevens. “You better be able to defend yourself. But it’s just like the culture is just survival.”


Stevens fought his way to a national amateur title and entered the pros as part of the “Chin Checkers” along with Jaidon Codrington, who would eventually get his chin checked in :18 by Allan Green. Stevens’ got his checked in the eighth round of a fight he was winning vs. veteran Marcos Primera in July of 2006. Caught by an uppercut late in the eighth, Stevens was stopped on his feet by a ref he still considers to have been hasty and irrational.


“I was winning the whole fight. I got hit with an uppercut, the ropes held me up so he gave me a standing eight count. I got up and I threw my side to the side and he punched me in the side of my head. The referee jumped in and stopped the fight.”


The loss was a hard lesson for Stevens but he took it well, joining Winky Wright’s training camp to work on the finer points of the science.


“After that fight, I went to camp with Winky Wright for quite a while,” said Stevens. “He was like ’You were winning the whole fight and the last round, you had to press on. Just win the round. Don’t do nothing outrageous. Just win the round.’ I learned the lesson.”


Stevens took the rematch with Primera immediately and avenged the loss with a unanimous decision he won handily.


“I took the fight because I didn’t think a fight I was winning should be stopped in the last round. So I wanted to take care of that as soon as possible,” he explained.


At his best, Stevens is a fighter who likes an exchange in order to land explosive power shots.


“I’m a power puncher. I can box when I need to. But mostly I am power puncher. Knockout artist,” he assessed.


Stevens has been on the comeback trail before. In 2007 he lost a decision to Andre Dirrell and bounced back with four wins. In January of 2010, Stevens was upset over twelve rounds by Jesse Brinkley. The loss was yet another for  


“When it’s most heated, I feel in knockout mode. [Early on] I didn’t really transform into a boxer. But after the Brinkley fight, I learned that sometimes Plan A is not going to work.”


In Saul Roman, Stevens faces a rugged veteran much like he has faced before. At 37-9 with 31 knockouts, (6 losses by knockout), Roman is a great fighter to help Stevens bring the Fight Night action but not exactly a yard stick of how he’ll do against the talent rich middleweight division.


“Mexican. Loves to fight that I can see so far. Comes forward. Gets put down. Gets back up. Gets put down again, he gets back. He gets back up and fights. That’s all I can see,” Stevens said of Roman. “And he has 31 knockouts. You can’t take that too lightly. He’s’ got more knockouts that I got wins. Btu he’s coming to fight. That’s the most I can say. That’s the most I can believe. But at the same time, he’s getting in with a whole different type of animal. And I hit way harder than the guys he’s been fighting. I know he is going to get knocked down. The question, will he get back up? And if he gets back up, he will not survive. It’s just a matter of time.”

 

Because of his exciting style and raw power, boxing fans will likely clamor for a showdown with middleweight titleholder and media darling Gennady Golovkin sooner rather than later. With middleweight champion Sergio Martinez rehabbing his injured knee, “GGG” is the man to beat.


“The question is: ‘Do [Golovkin] want that kind of fight?’ It ain’t up to me. I ain’t the champ. I’m trying to work on trying to take the belt away from the champ. If the day comes when that fight contract is presented to me, I would be happy to sign it.”


At age 28, with a fight looming and possibilities for greater things in sight for Curtis Stevens, it’s all about winning and looking good doing it.


“I feel good. I’ve been boxing since I was five years old, National champion. A part of me needed a break; a reality check. Get my head back in the game fully,” Stevens said. “Right now, I am ready to take over the middleweight division and be world champion.” 

 


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