Yes, New York should be proud of Curtis Stevens. He fought a determined fight on November 2nd against a great opponent Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Though he was dominated from the first round on to the eighth round, at times, though too seldom, he fought back with impressive speed, power and accuracy. In those moments he showed that he deserved to be in the ring fighting a championship bout against one of, if not the best, middleweights in the division.
His game plan was flawed. In fact, it is not clear that he had one. During the fight his corner repeatedly told him to fight in the center of the ring, not in the ropes. However, this obvious remark still does not constitute a game plan. The game plan could have been to stay in the outside, move in with short combinations and move out of punching range rapidly. Such a plan should have involved a lot of head movement in the way in because he was the smaller fighter and had to avoid getting hit by jabs or right hands coming in. It also should have included, constant feinting and jabbing to attempt to confuse Golovkin and keep him off balance with the jab. None of the above was used by Stevens. And it seemed than his corner failed to realize that Curtis Stevens was constantly being broken down in the center of the ring, and was taking a powerful and systematic assault to the body which sucked all his energy out of him. The body assault he suffered took his leg out as the fight when on. Put simply, he did not have enough energy to run. In such a situation, the ropes became a forced destination as he was constantly outworked, outjabbed and outboxed on the center of the ring.
Curtis Stevens seemed without an answer for Golovkin’s jab. He was similarly clueless about how to continuously punch Golovkin cleanly. The fact of the matter is that Stevens threw a few combinations and most of them landed cleanly, but he did not throw enough punches to remain competitive in this championship fight. To worsen his case, Stevens had very little to no head movement, so he was an immobile and de facto easy target for to Golovkin’s jabs which were used to set up combinations starting from face and ending to the body. In effect, it almost seems like Stevens fought one of the most dominant middleweight champions since Bernard Hopkins on talent and guts alone. Although that is pretty bold, it will not earn him a belt or a top seat in the middleweight ranking conservation.
“Triple G” on the other hand had a game plan. He fought behind his jab. He boxed and punched hard in short repeated combinations. He went downstairs hammering Curtis Stevens’ body from the first round on to the last. “Triple G” had meaner intentions. Whether it was because of Stevens’ pre fight trash talking or just his relentless will to take opponents out before the 12 round, “Triple G” followed through most of his power punches and was willing to throw the second, third and fourth punch to hurt his opponent. On top of this, “Triple G” demonstrated impressive ring generalship, and made very little mistakes, if any.
Curtis Stevens needs a new trainer. I suggest he seeks to train under Roger and Floyd Mayweather Sr. in Las Vegas for they will improve his defense tremendously and sharpen his offense. They will make him a smarter fighter, one capable of making adjustment defensively and offensively while in a fight. There, he will also focus his offense on boxing and short combinations of punches maximizing his speed and accuracy. The only other great American fighter except Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the upcoming Danny Garcia that has a great trainer is Andre Ward. Andre Ward is trained by Virgil Hunter. Virgil Hunter is perhaps one of the most underrated elite boxing coaches in the world. Virgil Hunter would also force Curtis to make serious and needed improvement on his defense. He would structure him as boxer, increase his boxing intellect and sharpen his offense.
If Curtis Stevens wants to go to the next level and become world champion, he needs to get that specific help. Most of all, he must want it. He must want to do what it takes to win. He must be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to win. He needs to understand that it might take time, perhaps three or four fights, to get him where he wants and needs to be, but it is the only way for him to become world champion. If that ever happened, New York might see another American world champion soon, and he might accomplish his dream. And who knows? in such a dream he might give New Yorkers a great fight against the other American middleweight world champion from New York City Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin.