Having already vowed to “destroy” hammer-fisted WBA titleholder Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2, Brooklyn-based middleweight Curtis Stevens was even more effusive during a Tuesday conference call regarding his plans for the 31-year-old Olympic silvermedalist from Kazakhstan.
“I’m coming to fight. If I have to adapt to my surroundings, well, I’m going to do that, too. But I’m coming to win,” said Stevens, who is 25-3 with 18 knockouts.
“I’m coming to break him down, and I’m coming to take his heart. Im coming to crush him. So, right now, in my mind, I’m not thinking about boxing. I’m just letting you know, I’m coming there to wreck him. I’m coming to wreck the wrecking machine.”
But if boxing is required to defeat Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs), who will be after his 15th consecutive stoppage victory, then Stevens’ uncle and trainer, Andre Rozier, says that his man is equipped to do so.
“My thing is, when I first started teaching Curtis to box, that was the name of the game. It’s called boxing, it’s not called fighting,” said Rozier. “So he has the ability to box, and he’s always been a fighter. So, nonetheless, whatever it takes for him to be victorious, he’s going to do.”
Meanwhile, Stevens said he would not be surprised if it is Golovkin who fights in retreat.
“Even Gennady has said himself that I have power, you know? That he could get knocked out, and I could get knocked out. So Gennady has it in his mind already that he could be destroyed, you know? In the back of their minds, their game plan is probably to run,” said Stevens, who is coming a first-round stoppage of Saul Roman in August that was preceded by his eight-round unanimous decision over Derrick Findley in April at The Garden.
“If Gennady comes in there and runs, then it was already in my mind that he would do that, because he knows in his mind that if I touch him his ass (he) might go night-night. If he comes and starts to jog around that ring, I wouldn’t be too surprised. But then again, his fans will say, ‘Why is he running? If he’s so much this killer and this wrecking machine. Why is the wrecking machine bouncing around the damn ring so much? Because he don’t want to get wrecked?’”
ROZIER TAKES ‘COMEDIC VIEW’ ON TRAINER ABEL SANCHEZ ‘RHETORIC’
“Gennady is the best middleweight ever besides Sugar Ray Robinson and maybe Bernard Hopkins,” said Sanchez, adding, in part, “I would love to have seen the fight with Hopkins in his prime. It’s a different kind of style. [Marvin] Hagler was too small for this guy.”
Rozier poked fun at Sanchez.
“Abel reminds me of when I was doing community activist work with individuals who had a problem with substance abuse… He just finds a way to where no one else will go with the things that he refers to,” said Rozier. “Quite honestly, he might be believing it, which is the worst part of it all. Abel says things that just don’t make sense at all,” said Rozier.
“Just from the point of view of what his athlete has done, he’s worked with Gennady for a few years, now. But, quite honestly, I don’t think that he understands what Gennady can do… Abel is, I think, one that talks up a situation so that he can believe that it will take place that way, and he talks around issues. I get a thrill and a comedic view out of it any time Abel starts talking.”
Sanchez was in the corner of previously undefeated Tavoris Cloud in March when the latter was dethroned as IBF 175-pound titleholder following a unanimous decision loss to Hopkins, a 48-year-old who extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown. Hopkins first set the record at the age of 46 by outpointing Jean Pascal for the WBC’s title.
“We didn’t hear anything after he participated in the Tavoris Cloud bout with Bernard Hopkins when Tavoris, unfortunately, came up short. Of course not, because he stepped in and he did what he does best — has people coming down instead of rising up. I give Gennady a lot of credit for being the athlete that he is, but, honestly, I don’t think Abel has anything to do with it,” said Rozier.
“From what I’ve viewed, he seems to be the same athlete. Actually, he’s making a few more mistakes than he did when he was boxing against a fighter like Kassim Ouma [10th-round KO for Golovkin in June of 2011.] Those are the mistakes that will cost Golovkin dearly in the fight. So I hope that Abel continues his rhetoric. It’s going to do us a whole lot of good when we get into the ring with him on Nov. 2.”
Sanchez offered a retort.
“It doesn’t matter what Andre says, and it doesn’t matter what I say. The fact of the matter is that Curtis Stevens has got to step through the ropes and face Gennady Golovkin. Gennady Golovkin, as I’ve said in the past, is fast becoming one of the best middleweights that’s ever laced them on. He’s absolutely the best fighter that I’ve ever worked with, but, all of the talk doesn’t matter,” said Sanchez.
“Andre has to understand that there are levels in this game, and they’re not quite at the level that Golovkin is, or where our program is. So they’re going to find that out on Nov. 2… To tell you the truth, I think that with 300 amateur fights that Gennady is a far superior boxer than any middleweight out there right now. I think that a knockout comes with some boxing skills. A knockout doesn’t come because guys stand there and let you hit them. When Gennady sets him up with the punch that he wants to hit him with, he’ll go to sleep.”
GOLOVKIN ‘AN INTERNATIONAL STAR’
In June, Golovkin scored a third-round stoppage of three-time title challenger Matthew Macklin, who was two fights removed from having scored a seventh-round knockdown against RING and WBC champion Sergio Martinez during an 11th-round knockout loss in March of last year.
The win over Macklin was preceded by Golovkin’s fifth-round knockout of Grzegorz Proksa in September of last year, and had followed his third-round KO of Japanese contender Nobuhiro Ishida in March as well as a bloody, seventh-round knockout of Gabriel Rosado at The Garden in January.
Golovkin’s viewership numbers on HBO has been rising.
“I’ve never worked with a fighter who has such a killer instinct inside of the ring, where he coming off, now, 14 knockouts in a row…He has such devastating power with both hands, whether it’s knocking somebody out with a left hook or an uppercut or a body shot like he did with Macklin,” said K2 Promotions’ Tom Loeffler of Golovkin, whose triumph over Proksa took place in Verona, N.Y., with that over Macklin happening in Connecticut.
“Being so aggressive in the ring, and being so respectful and marketable outside of the ring, he really looks at boxing as a sport. Not that he wants to hurt the other person, but he wants to do whatever he can to win. He wants to provide excitement for the boxing fans that come to pay money to see him and to tune in and watch him fight. That’s what has catapulted him so quickly, internationally, and, in this country.”
“He’s really becoming an international star,” said Loeffler. “That’s really why, from my perspective, that it’s gone so quickly because of his style in the ring and his personality and demeanor outside of the ring.”
To what does Golovkin attribute his popularity?
“I think, just, my style,” said Golovkin. “Plus boxing. My power, of course.”
IBF WON’T SANCTION CARLOS MOLINA-VICTOR ORTIZ FOR DEC. 14
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer says he “will work on the situation in the next few days” regarding former WBC 147-pound beltholder, Victor Ortiz, whose return from an 18-month ring absence against newly-crowned 154-pound IBF titleholder Carlos Molina was being targeted for a Dec. 14 quadrupleheader topped by WBA welterweight titleholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner opposite Marcos Maidana.
In an e-mail to RingTV.com, IBF President Daryl Peoples stated that he will not grant Molina permission to face Ortiz, who is not rated by his organization as a junior middleweight.
“The Molina vs. Ortiz fight was not sanctioned because Victor Ortiz is not ranked by the IBF,” said Peoples. “Molina is in an optional period and can fight any ranked contender until 60 days prior to his mandatory defense that is due on or before June 14, 2014.”
Also part of the Broner-Maidana card is hard-hitting welterweight Keith Thurman (21-0, 19 KOs) against Jesus Soto-Karass, Mexican junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) against Jorge Melendez (27-3-1, 26 KOs), and, on free view, a defense by WBA light heavyweight titleholder Beibut Shumenov (13-1, 8 KOs) against Tomas Kovacs (23-0, 14 KOs).
WARRIORS BOXING WINS IBF PURSE BID TO PROMOTE RANCES BARTHELEMY-ARGENIS MENDEZ
Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, who also handles Molina, was the sole bidder on Tuesday for the right to promote an IBF junior lightweight bout between titleholder Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KOs) and Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs).
Margules won the bid with $51,000 — $1,000 more than the minimum — has 90 days within which to put on the fight.
In August, Mendez battled to a majority draw with Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs), whom Barthelemy defeated by unanimous decision in January.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV OVERCOMES THE ABSENCE OF FREDDIE ROACH
A big question for junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) heading into last Saturday’s 10th-round technical knockout that dethroned Mike Alvarado (34-2, 23 KOs) as WBO beltholder was whether or not The Siberian Rocky could prevail without trainer Freddie Roach working his corner.
Together, the duo successfully navigated Provodnikov to a victory that helped him to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to WBO 147-pound titleholder Tim Bradley, who rose from a 12th-round knockdown during their battle in March.
It was a critical exchange between Somodio and Kornilov between the seventh and eighth rounds that produced a major turning point in the fight.
“You’re winning. You’re winning. You’ve got him, brother, you’ve got him,” said Somodio to Provodnikov, before directing Kornilov to translate instructions.
“Vadim, once you’re in position to throw punches, let’s throw more than one, okay? More than one combination, okay? One is not enough, alright? Beautiful.”
Provodnikov responded by flooring Alvarado twice in the eighth round, firing some 25 unanswered punches that led to the first knockdown, and another 11 unanswered blows to produced the second.
A graceful Provodnikov praised Roach after the fight.
BOYD MELSON RETURNS AGAINST CHRIS GILBERT ON DEC. 4
“Gilbert is definitely going to present a strong challenge. His team personally reached out to me on Facebook asking me to fight their man. Christmas falls in the same month of this fight, so I decided to give them their present early by saying yes,” said Melson.
“It’s the season of giving, which is my specialty. I know he’s hungry and is looking to come into New York to steal the spotlight, but I’m not about to let that happen. A win over Gilbert will get me one step closer to a significant fight and I’m ready as ever.”
Photo by Emily Harney
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Cozzone, Fightwireimages.com
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com