ATLANTIC CITY — He watched the fight just once, but for Curtis Stevens one viewing of his November loss to middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin was enough to burn every detail into his memory. Sitting outside Gallagher’s Steakhouse this week, Stevens was able to recall every mistake he made against Golovkin. Backing up too much. Not letting his hands go enough. Too much time spent looking for the perfect shot.
“Golovkin is a world champion, give him credit,” Stevens said. “But he wasn’t doing anything spectacular that I shouldn’t have overcome.”
Days after the fight, Stevens packed his bags. He traveled to Mexico and Jamaica. He lounged on a beach and floated in infinity pools. He tried to forget about the loss. He didn’t have much luck.
“I trained so hard for that fight, but that wasn’t what really upset me,” Stevens said. “What hurt so much was that I wanted the fight. I asked for it. When you [ask] for something, you had better deliver. And I didn’t deliver what I asked for. I didn’t live up to my own expectations.”
Some fighters would have taken an extended break after such a tough loss. Not Stevens. Before the fight he had been sidelined for most of 2010 and all of 2011 because of a promotional dispute, so he was eager to get back into the ring. And when Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone called him on vacation to offer him a fight in January, Stevens quickly accepted.
“You are as good as your last fight,” Stevens said. “And I wanted another one right away.”
On Friday, Stevens (25-4) will start the climb back into the 160-pound title picture when he takes on Patrick Majewski (21-2) at Resorts Casino Hotel (NBC Sports Network, 10 p.m.). Despite the one-sidedness of his loss to Golovkin, Stevens’ power and personality still make him an attractive opponent. And because he is not connected to the cold war between Top Rank/HBO and Showtime/Golden Boy, Stevens can fight anyone in the division. That includes a rematch with Golovkin or a showdown with WBO titleholder Peter Quillin.
A fight against Quillin could be particularly appealing. Both the Brooklyn-born Stevens and Quillin, who lives in New York and frequently fights at the Barclays Center, are connected to the borough and both could be seeking high-profile opponents later this year. Plus, Stevens claims that he has been told that Quillin has been dismissive of Stevens’ chances of beating him.
“He thinks I’m a cupcake or something,” Stevens said. “We’ll see. I’ll fight him. I’ll fight anyone in the division.”