Gennady Golovkin has gotten the reputation as being one of the most avoided fighters in the sport. The WBA middleweight champion of the world was avoided by Felix Sturm when he was his mandatory and the same with Daniel Geale when he beat Sturm to unify the WBA and IBF titles. Geale dropped the belt instead of facing the “Good Boy”. Don’t expect the man who defeated Geale, Darren Barker to go anywhere near Golovkin either as Barker’s promoter would much rather get a cash grab in Germany against Sturm then stepping in the same ring as Golovkin.
On Golovkin’s wish list has been the names Of Sergio Martinez, Peter Quillin, and even Floyd Mayweather. Instead the recent opposition has been the likes of Gabriel Rosado, Matthew Macklin, and Nobihuro Ishida. Don’t get me wrong that’s decent opposition but not exactly the elite guys or name guys at middleweight that would get Golovkin to where he wants to be. However, Golovkin’s aura and demand grows with every stoppage and the search for an opponent willing to enter the ring becomes an ever harder mission for the network that airs his fights, HBO.
Enter Curtis Stevens, a former super middleweight that will be making his fifth appearance at the middleweight level. Stevens is Brooklyn born and a natural to main event with Golovkin at the MSG Theatre come November 5th. Being showcased on the NBC Sports Network, Stevens has thrived and provided knockout reel highlights, most notably in his last fight against Saul Roman, where he knocked out Roman in the first round. Now while many people have shied away from Golovkin, I remember interviewing Stevens in early February where he told me he wanted Golovkin and by the stroke of that one punch destruction of Roman, he essentially punched his ticket to the tune of somewhere close to the 500k payday as reported by Chris Mannix of SI.com
Now in preparation for the fight, Stevens left his comfort of training in his home borough of Brooklyn to Easton, Pa where the legendary Larry Holmes is from. He told me he went to Pennsylvania to be more focused and to get ready for the “Good Girl”, throwing a little humor at the nickname given to Golovkin after he called Rosado a good boy when he stopped him earlier this year in the very same venue.
At first glance, I saw Stevens step into the ring with trainer Andre Rozier, I seen a dedication for Stevens concentrating on the body and he says it’s for good reason. “Golovkin throws winging shots, so it’s all about making him miss and making him pay. He never been really tested to the body, so we’re going to break him down and take him out. I’m focusing on the head and body, break the body down the head will fall. We got a plan A, plan B and plan C. We’re going to give him a variety of plans,” stated Stevens.
Whatever the variety is, Stevens feels that the only person that can beat him is himself and that he’s not worried anything that Golovkin will bring in the ring. Although Stevens has fought most of his career one division north of Golovkin, when the two met face to face at the presser, to the human eye, Golovkin seems to have the size advantage, at least in length. That’s nothing new for Stevens.
“Romaro Johnson had the length, Elvin Ayala had the length, Saul Roman had the length. I always have been the shorter guy so it really doesn’t matter. I believe I have more reach than him but I believe in my power. I believe I have more strength than him. Come the 2nd we’re going to be the middle of the ring and he’ll see what he got in to.”
Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez has been adamant in his thoughts that Stevens is not on Golovkin’s level. However, Golovkin has said in interviews that he has to respect Stevens and his power. Stevens feels the imbalance in opinion is more than that; it’s more of fear or concern from Team Golovkin.
“Trainer is trying to keep Gennady focused on what he’s doing, keep him level minded; Gennady is basically trying to give me respect because I feel he has some type of fear of me. I believe Abel is going to say different things to balance it out. Gennady says I’m strong; you got to be weary of the power. Abel says I’m green. It comes middle you know. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing. I just got to prove Abel wrong and Gennady right,” explained Stevens.
Stevens expects fireworks come November 2nd. He’s not sure the round or if it goes to a decision but he’s confident in victory especially because he feels Golovkin can only fight one way, forward. “I’m going to be relaxed. The question is will he be as aggressive as he was with other guys against me. He bounces around the ring, he may try and box. He can’t fight backing out too much so we got to see what he can bring. I can box and pressure, I’ll be there ready to win.”