“Anything can happen,” Curtis Stevens’ promoter, Kathy Duva, told me on Wednesday, at Madison Square Garden, three days before her guy, an 11-to-1 or so underdog, was slated to challenge WBA 160 pound champ Gennady Golovkin, the destructive hitter with the deceptively gentle and youthful face. Well said by Ms. Duva, who’s spent enough decades in the game to have seen this adage play out, in shocking and scintillating fashion, time and again.
Me, I’m liking Golovkin to get the nod in this one, but listen to and respect Duva when she tells me that Stevens has matured, understands the gravity of the opportunity, and will react accordingly. “Upsets happen,” she reiterated.
On Saturday night? Let’s see what you think, TSS Universe. Could Stevens’ quickness catch GGG with something he doesn’t see, and give him a taste of his own bitter medicine? That’s a tall order, as GGG tells us he’s never been off his feet, not in a fight, not in sparring, not in the streets, EVER. Tell us what you think is going to go down, or who is going to go down, at MSG Theater, and on HBO, in our Forum.
The power of Gennady Golovkin is, some people say, one of those things that must be experienced first hand to be properly understood. It’s sort of like having kids; it can be explained to you, and you can try and wrap your brain around it, but until that ball of wailing helplessness/package of unconditional loveablness is plopped into your lap, you really can’t conceive of the true reality of your predicament/blessing.
I have to assume there will be nothing resembling a feeling of being bestowed with a “blessing” felt by Brownsville, Brooklyn’s Curtis Stevens on Saturday night at The Theater at Madison Square Garden when he eats the first couple Golovkin tosses. Matthew Macklin’s demeanor early on in round one in Golovkins’ last tussle shifted from the confidence that one acquires and gives off when one knows that they have been in with some of the best pugilists and hung tight, to mild, and then more severe panic. Many folks are assuming that Stevens too will do the shift in mood when he tastes Golovkin leather.
But what of Stevens’ power? He’s been on a nice run, sure. But his people will tell you the kid cracks nasty. Like, real nasty. His run of early stops attests to that, but maybe you want something more quantifiable than that. Maybe I got that for you…
HBO has been testing technology which measures power, and speed and accuracy, via chips embedded in boxing gloves. It is a work in progress, and I hear that they need to get to a point where they are fully comfortable with the technology, and the accuracy of the readings, before they roll the technology out publicly.
In a recent fight, I’m told, Golovkins’ and Stevens’ stats were measured, and Stevens’ promoter Kathy Duva told me that the Brooklyner scored quite nicely. “Curtis punches faster than Golovkin, I’m positive of that,” she said. “HBO’s punch machine scored Curtis higher than any heavyweight. They feared he broke the machine. They had him do it again,” she said, to confirm the high readings. “The machine wasn’t broken.”
Duva said that stats had Golovkin punching harder with his right hand than Stevens, but Stevens punched harder than Golovkin with his left hand. “Effectively, they are equal,” Duva told me.
I took this intel over to Tom Loeffler, director of K2, Golovkins’ promoter. “I’d agree with that, they have similar power,” he said.
So, I’m not sure if that changes how you see this fight, or even if it should at all. But at the least, this does give you some more food for thought as we count down to fight night, and a tussle between two middleweights who punch like heavyweights. On the brightest of sides, I do believe we are not in danger of seeing any judging idiocy in this main event, as there is a better-than-good chance that we don’t see the distance. Let the chips fall where they may.
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