Curtis Stevens talks Lemieux showdown "I'll destroy him then beat up Billy Joe"
By Michael J Jones
MIDDLEWEIGHT puncher Curtis Stevens is clearly a man of few words. One message he repeats to me over the course of our twenty minute interview is plain though; David Lemieux is in trouble. The two ferocious punchers clash over twelve rounds on March 11th with the Canadian's NABO belt up for grabs as well as the chance for the victor to challenge for further world honours.
Stevens, now 31-years-old, returned from a period of inactivity last year to score two impressive victories over the previously undefeated Brazilian Patrick Teixeira and James De La Rosa. The latter win went the full ten rounds after the man known as the “Cerebral Assassin” injured his hand early in the fight. However, the two-round of dismissal of Teixeira, 26-0 going in, provided a spectacular knock-out.
The Brazilian was wobbled in the first by a stiff jab but walked into a thunderous right-hand in the next which jack-knifed him violently to the deck. The devastating win raised Stevens record to 29-5 (21) as he successfully defended his WBC Continental Americas title but insists he is yet to reach his peak under new trainer John David Jackson.
Speaking exclusively to livefight.com, Stevens sounds ready for another explosive performance when he takes on the 36-3 (32) Lemieux after a long-time feud between the pair.
“Training has gone very well. I’ve been with my trainer (former world champion and coach to Sergey Kovalev John David Jackson) for a year and two months now. He’s not just helped with bringing out my boxing but he’s helped with everything from boxing, my jab, slugging…everything you can imagine.”
“I’ve been trying to get a fight with David Lemieux for about two years now. I think the turning point was when I hurt my hand in my last fight. I think they’re trying to catch me when I’m injured and that’s the reason the fight was made. My hands are perfect now as they’ll find out on March 11th.”
Stevens turned pro in 2004 but it was following a lengthy spell on the side-lines and a drop in weight (168 to 160) which brought the New Yorker's finest form with a series of high-light-reel knock-outs in 2013. The eye-catching form lead to bout against world ruler Gennedy Golovkin and the two men met at Madison Square Garden in November 13.
The fight didn't disappoint, Stevens was floored by a brutal left hook in the second but came back to chin-check “GGG” as the two men unloaded their full arsenal of power-punches against each other to the thrill of the crowd.
Once the smoke cleared though it was Golovkin who retained his WBA and IBO titles with a seventh-round corner retirement after a sustained barrage ended matters. Stevens' March 11th opponent also lost via stoppage to Golovkin and emerged from the defeat with much credit.
Stevens isn't taking anything from the respective bouts the two men have shared with the still-unbeaten Russian as he comments.
“I don’t really take anything from (Lemieux’s) fight with Gennedy Golovkin as everybody fights everyone differently. He may (box) the same way against me but they can do whatever the f**k they want to do come March 11th he’s in trouble against me whatever he tries.”
“Of course I’d like to face Golovkin again, I’d love to correct the mistakes I made against him. It was a good, entertaining fight but there was things I should have done differently in there. I’m moving forward now and I’d definitely like to be able to reapply myself against him.”
The Stevens-Lemieux match at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, New York, has got fans in a frenzy as a multi-knock-down war is predicted by many. Lemieux has won both contests since losing his IBF title to Golovkin but has returned with two wins and looked as good as ever last time when dispatching decent Glen Tapia in four. Stevens, despite the expected fire-works, clearly is focused on winning and isn't goaded into making any bold predictions.
“All I’ll say is when it goes it goes. Whether it’s the first, second, third, eleventh, twelfth whatever round; I will beat him” the feared Stevens tells Livefight menacingly. “My tactics will be just to use my jab, control the fight, dictate the fight and not let him do what he wants to do.”
“I don’t really see (Lemieux) as a one-punch knock-out artist. I know he has power but not as much as I do and he’s not as strong as I am. He has a good, short, hook and I’ll be timing that and staying away from it. I’ve had an excellent camp and I'm ready for anything.”
I ask the Brownsville puncher if he feels in his prime at 31 after just over a year under John David Jackson?
“I’m 31-years-old now but if you look at my career I’ve had three years out of the ring since I started so there’s no boxing wear-and-tear I’m still pretty fresh. I had two years out (2011-2012) and then in 2015 I couldn’t get a fight as nobody wanted to face me.”
“Golovkin vs ‘Canelo’ Alvarez would be a great, great fight” Stevens replies when I ask who would prevail should the two mega-stars finally meet each other in the ring. Stevens shared seven torrid rounds with Golovkin and also spent time in camp with Alvarez before the Mexican's contest with Miguel Cotto so should have a excellent idea on the fight.
“I think it would pretty much come down to who got their (game-plan) right on the night and who could impose themselves better in the fight. Canelo is a huge guy, I’ve no idea what weight he comes down from to make 154lbs but he’s a big guy so I believe he could have the power to hurt Golovkin.”
Is there any one of his career victories he is most proud of as he looks back at his 34 bout career?
“There’s no one victory for me that stands out in my career as every win is one I’m proud of. Generally, a win is a win and it doesn’t matter how it comes. I feel for me there’s a lot more to come and I’m not where I can get to. I’ll be very proud when I win against Lemieux on March 11th.”
“I have no prediction for the fight just that it will be my hand that’s raised after it’s finished. Whatever round it is or whatever means I will win this fight.”
And after the fight should he be victorious?
“Once I’ve won this fight I’ll be hoping to fight for a world title again against one of the champions. Billy Joe Saunders has the WBO belt so I’ll be looking for him. I’ve seen two of his fights and he’s nothing. No fight is easy but he’s nothing special from what I’ve seen. If he wants it it will be easy to make it happen.”
“To all my fans, tune in to me vs David Lemieux on March 11th it’s going to be a good fight and excellent knock-out.”
Livefight.com would like to thank Main Events' Ellen Haley for helping to arrange this interview. Also to Mr Curtis Stevens for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us this week.
Stevens' stunning KO of Teixeira
Lemieux vs. Stevens is a 12-round middleweight bout for the NABO Middleweight championship, presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Eye of the Tiger Management and Main Events,and sponsored by "Tecate, BORN BOLD." The HBO Boxing After Dark telecast begins at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.
For more information visit www.goldenboypromotions.com, www.mainevents.com, www.hbo.com/boxing, and www.turningstone.com follow on Twitter at @GoldenBoy, @main_events, @HBOboxing @TurningStone and visit us on Instagram at @GoldenBoyBoxing, @main_events and @TurningStone. Follow the conversation using #LemieuxStevens.