ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—Curtis Stevens arrived in the ring looking like an extra from Duck Dynasty with a beard as thick as Melissa McCarthy’s thighs. And though it looked like Patrick “The Machine” Majewski had on boxing trunks, he actually arrived with a soiled Depends diaper before a punch was thrown.
Stevens flicked a left jab at Majewski and down he went within the first 10 seconds of their 10-round middleweight bout on NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night from Resorts Casino-Hotel Friday night. It didn’t take Stevens long to find redemption for his November loss to Gennady Golovkin with a 46-second demolition of Majewski (21-3, 13 knockouts).
Referee Lindsey Page quickly waved it over after Stevens (26-4, 19 KOs) scored his third knockdown in the first round, with Majewski crumpled in the corner. Stevens landed 8 of 16 punches, while Majewski connected on a feeble 1-for-6.
But even though it was Majewski in the other corner Friday night, Stevens saw Golovkin.
“I just want some work right now, this fight is behind me,” Stevens said. “This is what I was born to do. A lot of people were questioning me after [the Golovkin fight]. That fight was so disappointing because I wanted to fight so bad. I got in there and I was over-thinking, not reacting too much. But everything is a learning lesson. I went in there and did what my uncle told me to do. Don’t think too much, have fun and let my hands go.”
Curtis immediately went into “Who’s next?” mode. Peter Quillin’s name was broached, as was James Kirkland’s.
“You know I sparred with [Quillin] and I know him,” Stevens said. “We’re friends, but this is business. I do think this fight redeemed me from the Golovkin loss. When I get in there and don’t think too much and let my hands go, I’m okay. That’s me. But I’ve never changed. I’ve always been ‘Showtime.’ I’m ready get back into the title picture again.”
In the main undercard fight, Thabiso “The Rock” Mchunu and Olanrewaju Durodola had the patrons reaching for Red Bull. A good chunk of the fight featured posing, ducking and feinting. What sporadic exchanges did take place were action filled, yet brief. Using his superior experience, “The Rock” wound up with a convincing, unanimous 10-round decision over Durodola to capture something called the vacant NABF cruiserweight title.
Judge John Stewart had it the closest, 96-93, while judge Hilton Whitaker scored it 97-92 (as did THE RING) and Debra Barnes had it 98-91, all for Mchunu (15-1, 10 KOs).
“I think he knew everything about me,” Mchunu said. “He didn’t want to commit most of the time. He was waiting for me. I thought he was going to throw more punches than he did. He surprised me. He’s stronger than I thought. I wasn’t using my speed most of the time, because I also wanted to drop him. I learned a lot this time.”
Mchunu scored a flash knockdown in the second round with a grazing right on the top of Durodola’s head. Durodola (17-2, 16 KOs) didn’t appear hurt; he returned to his feet without a problem and resumed being baffled by Mchunu, who was very effective fighting off his back foot.
In the third round, Durodola thought he would change some things up and came out southpaw. Within a minute, he resorted back to a conventional stance. It didn’t matter. Mchunu countered him, connecting with a left to the face. And though he gave up six inches in height, the 5-foot-8 Mchunu still managed to get inside of the 6-foot-2 Durodola.
By the second round, it was pretty evident Durodola didn’t match Mchunu’s experience. Though Durodola has been fighting in the United States since 2011, his record was filled with nondescript Midwest fighters.
The first minute of the fourth featured more posturing and feinting. More waiting for the other to throw the first punch. Durodola was still confused by Mchunu’s style, though. He was more active, though Mchunu landed the most powerful punch of the round when Durodola neared and Mchunu plowed him with a counter left to the head.
Mchunu then ripped the hardest punch of the fight thus far with a right on Durodola’s cheek. Durodola stumbled into the corner, but Mchunu backed off and began retreating again.
At the outset of the sixth, Mchunu almost got himself in some trouble when he lunged after Durodola and for a second was off balance. But Durodola did nothing, as Mchunu stumbled into the ropes, then quickly righted himself.
The times Durodola did close, Mchunu would make himself perpendicular to the charging Durodola and shove a thick shoulder into him. Durodola obliged by backing away and failing to use his size.
In the 10th, Mchunu was effective with a left uppercut to the body. His corner kept imploring him to press Durodola more. They felt he hurt Durodola. Mchunu thought otherwise. He remained cautious, returning to his comfort cocoon.
Mchunu exhibited great skill and counterpunching ability. In the end, no one needed smelling salts to revive them, but no one was screaming for this 10-round exhibition to be a Fight of the Year candidate, either.
Video / Bill Emes