Curtis Stevens has been pining for a showdown with middleweight monster Gennady Golovkin, and he did his part in making people want to see it with a 1st round Knockout of the Year candidate Saturday on NBC Sports Network.
Stevens hurt Saul Roman immediately, and while Roman's not as sturdy as NBC Sports made him out to be (six knockouts in nine losses prior to this one), he usually hangs around longer than one round. A left hook dropped a damaged Roman, and just as it looked like Roman was getting himself back together, Stevens caught him with another left hook that rendered him limp and on his back.
Stevens suffered a loss to Jesse Brinkley three years ago and has two other Ls besides — one defensible, to Andre Dirrell, one not, to Marcos Primera — but has been carefully rebuilt by Main Events. Like I said, he's done his part with what he's been given. Golovkin hasn't yet faced someone with Stevens' one-punch power, so if Golovkin's going to fight five times this year, it would be nice to see how Golovkin's chin would fare in what would be a certain shootout. It sounds like, from NBC Sports' Chris Mannix post script, Stevens' team isn't as enthused about the match-up with Golovkin as Stevens has been.
Two other Main Events "projects" who once met in the ring had opposite outcomes from one another on the undercard.
Eddie Chambers moved down to cruiserweight in what can only be called a failed experiment. Some of it had to do with the weight change, never an easy jut to make late in one's career. Chambers was a fast heavyweight, and wasn't all that fast Saturday. Some of it had to do with his opponent, Thabiso Mchunu, hailed beforehand as a well-kept secret. He lived up to the billing, at least somewhat. He fought in a spoiling style, refusing to lead no matter what, leaning way back to take away Chambers' jab and countering with quick, hard punches. Maybe that made Chambers gun-shy, or maybe it was all the wild misses, but he didn't pull the trigger when he had clear openings, too. Chambers won one round on my card, as two judges had it, and the third judge was more generous, but few thought Chambers won even a single stanza. If the hope was that Chambers would make a splash in a new division, he didn't, but Mchunu could yet someday, helped by a career-best win in his American pro debut.
Heavyweight Tomasz Adamek has been shaky in several consecutive outings, including a win over Chambers few thought he deserved. He made a solid opening stab at righting the ship with a clear decision win over Dominick Guinn. By comparison to his recent bouts, Adamek was spry, moving his feet and hands well, showing off stamina and angles. But then, it's easy to look spry when fighting the anemic Guinn, who won a couple rounds on my card (the 2nd and 7th; most gave him the 1st instead of the 2nd) with hard punches. But Guinn lived up to his reputation of not doing enough punching to win fights, and Adamek also capitalized on a couple head butts that sapped Guinn's will to do battle, especially in the 8th, when he turned it on big time and forced the ring doctor to look at his swollen brow. I'm not entirely sold on Adamek being "back," given his opposition, but I'm also open-minded to the chance that the nine-month layoff did him some good.
In the end, it was neither the excellent card some in the media sold it as nor the disaster that some (including myself) feared. If it reestablished Adamek to any degree and set Stevens up for a payday, then it did two of its three jobs.