MONTREAL — Culled Friday at the weigh-in for Sergey Kovalev-Jean Pascal Saturday on HBO, get your red hot news tidbits from and about some of your favorite boxing personalities right here! Read on for more on these names: Deontay Wilder, Gennady Golovkin, David Lemieux, Dierry Jean, Bermane Stiverne, Blake Caparello, Curtis Stevens, Roy Jones, Jr., Curtis Stevens, Carl Froch, Miguel Cotto, Adonis Stevenson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Lamont Peterson, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Canelo Alvarez, Bryant Jennings, Wladimir Klitschko, Steve Cunningham, Vyacheslav Glazkov, Gabriel Rosado, Isaac Chilemba…
Abel Sanchez, trainer of Gennady Golovkin, said the plan is still for him to stay at middleweight and unify title belts. He has more or less given up on the notion of facing lineal champ Miguel Cotto.
“I think Miguel’s got other plans I think Miguel realizes that Golovkin is just much too much for him. Which is fine for us. We just want to fight for the middleweight title. It doesn’t matter who it’s against. We can’t kidnap him and force him to get into the ring. He in his mind and [trainer] Freddie [Roach] knows he’s too much for him. He’ll stop him in less than five rounds. He’s had a great career. There’s no reason, unless he really wants to prove he’s a middleweight, there’s no reason to get into the ring with Golovkin. Golovkin will destroy him.”
David Lemieux would be a good match-up, if not. “I sure hope he’s in the running; it just seems that everybody wanting to get into the ring, with Golovkin, just not next… David Lemieux has a great style for TV. It would be a a barnburner here in the Bell Center. I hope they can put it together.”
But, failing unified titles at 160, Golovkin is prepared to move to 168 if he must. There, Sanchez has a dream: “I would like to see him face Julio Cesar Chavez [Jr.]. His style’s just like the Lemieux fight. He’s got girth to him, a great chin… It would be a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots type of fight. Carl Froch, that would be a great fight in England. Andre Ward, if he resolves his issues with getting some fights. He needs a couple tune-ups.”
Golovkin is next scheduled to face Willie Monroe, Jr. in May.
As for Lemieux, Camille Estephan, his manager, said the person they want most is Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, due to meet one another in May, hopefully. Naturally, he said they weren’t looking past him. Estephan said N’Dam moves well and showed a lot of heart against Peter Quillin, while Lemieux will look to get up close. “We’ll see a beautiful stylistic match-up,” he said.
But when asked about who they want for Lemieux after that, Estephan answered, “We want Canelo, Cotto, Golovkin.”
Isn’t Golovkin the best match-up of those? “It will happen when the money’s right. We’re confident with David. Against [Gabriel] Rosado, he answered a lot of questions. People want to see him fight. The middleweight division is an excellent division.”
Heavyweight Deontay Wilder, apparently in town as a friend of Pascal’s, said his broken right hand is on the mend. He figures it will be fully healed by a month or a month and a half.
After that, “I’m looking forward to fighting on NBC my next fight. I’m excited about boxing.” He said Bermane Stiverne is lucky he hurt his hand or he’d be knocked out. “I’m going to be around for a long time. He was a false prophecy. Everything I say comes to pass.”
With Bryant Jennings having signed to face lineal heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Wilder has no mandatory to his belt. “Now I’m just looking for guys. We got our eye on a couple people. I want to stay active and make the best fights possible.”
He said the Premier Boxing Champions series in combination with his rise can really boost the sport. “I got a lot of people, that gave up on boxing. They’re back. A lot of people who never watched boxing before, they read about my story, they here… I’m soon to bring it all back ,the interest, the excitement, the thrill of it, just like it was back in the day. I’m living up to it. The best is yet to come for the heavyweight division and the state of boxing.”
Roy Jones, Jr. said he’ll fight until he gets a cruiserweight title and call it quits. If he doesn’t get it, he’ll also call it quits. He’s aiming for Marco Huck.
Jones confirmed that he’ll be a part of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao broadcast team alongside Jim Lampley and Al Bernstein.
(An aside from Jones: “When I die and go to heaven, I’m going to ask to God, ‘Please replay me Salvador Sanchez vs. Eusebio Pedroza.’ That’s the fight I wanted to see as a kid and I never got to see it because Sanchez died.”)
Lucian Bute said he hopes to return in June or July. He’d suffered a back injury, but has now resumed training as of a few weeks ago. He would rather return at 168 lbs. than 175, and he’d be targeting a titlist there.
He said he still wants to work with Freddie Roach, who told him to rest up in Montreal and call him when his back healed:”He’s very good trainer. I’m very confident with him. He’s a very nice guy. He knows boxing.”
Also on Saturday’s undercard is Dierry Jean, last seen in a big fight in a competitive loss against junior welterweight Lamont Peterson in early 2014. Jean had been wrestling with some personal demons, said Estephan.
“He’s doing very well. 132 days he’s out of rehab, clean living, the life he should be as an athelte and as a person,” said Estephan of Jean’s struggles with gambling and alcohol. “He’s happier, he’s full of energy, he’s positive. It was costing him a lot, [the way] I guess [it would] any human being that’s abusing their body and soul. I look at him and think he’s back to when he was 25 years old.”
As for takeaways from the Peterson fight: “No excuses, Lamont fought a very good fight, had a great plan and is a good athlete.” Still, “He showed us he has what it takes to be at that level. Now, knowing what we know now, Dierry would have a better chance when he fights at that level next time.”
Blake Caparello is another fighter who is looking to move down in weight. The light heavyweight is considering a drop to 168. Maybe 175-pounders are too naturally big for him. “Being in the ring with some of these blokes, yeah, it’s starting to look that way,” the Aussie said, visiting town to help Artur Beterbiev in sparring.
He’s returned from a loss against Sergey Kovalev with one win on home soil. He said he might fight again in May. He picked Kovalev as the better light heavy over lineal champion Adonis Stevenson: “You’d have to say Kovalev. He’s beaten the better opposition at the moment. You can’t say Stevenson’s calling out Kovalev, where Kovalev doesn’t care who he fights.”
Curtis Stevens is signed up for the rules-lite version of boxing known as Big Knockout Boxing in April, with the blessing/business arrangement/assistance of Main Events, according to the company’s boss, Kathy Duva.
“It benefits Curtis Stevens because he’s getting paid a lot of money by someone who wants to pay it and he gets kind of a free shot. It doesn’t go on your boxing record,” she said. “If you win, you’ve kind of brought yourself back. He’s in the position in his career where he needs to bring himself back and at the same time secure himself financially. So this creates the opportunity for him to do that.”
What would be next for him? “If they offer him a whole lot of money he can do that. His goal is to come back to boxing. His goal is to be middleweight champion of the world.”
Stevens is working with Shane Mosley for the fight. Duva said Mosley has the makings of an “extraordinary teacher.”
Estephan said Bermane Stiverne is on the road back to the big time after losing his last bout to Wilder. Stiverne was hospitalized after the bout with severe dehydration.
“Stiverne is training; he’s not in boxing camp, getting back in shape,” Estephan said. “The first six months of the year belong to Deontay Wilder. The last six months of the year, we’re going to make some noise.”
How did the dehydration happen? “He wanted to be at a certain weight, absolutely. We made mistakes as a team. He stayed in sauna room too long. Thank god he’s OK. His health was in jeopardy. It was serious. It wasn’t the Bermane that we know in that ring that night.
“We’re revamping everything. We’re going back to our roots. It is easier said that done; once you become become heavyweight champion of world, it’s a whole different world. We had to learn the hard way. And it was the worst time to learn, giving up that title.”
So what’s the plan going forward? “Beat the top guys. Bring it back. We’re going to get another opportunity, it’s just a matter of time. We want Wilder again.” Who does Stiverne fight to make that happen? “Anybody in between We’re #4 right now. Maybe we see the winner Glazkov-Cunningham.”
(Wilder was skeptical of Stiverne’s comeback chances: “I don’t think he’s going to be the same fighter no more. He took too many punches. You have to keep in mind that the head is meant to be hit in the first place. But God bless his soul.”)
Also on the undercard is light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba. His trainer Buddy McGirt said he’s still discovering his identity as a fighter.
“He wants to fight like Roy Jones. I told him, which is OK, but there’s got to come a time where you’ve got to be Isaac Chilemba. You’re not going to win all your fights being Roy Jones. It’s OK to add it on to what you do best, but we’ve got to work on that,” McGirt said.
So who is Chilemba, then? “He has a little bit of everything right now. I don’t think he’s really found himself yet. We’re working on standing his ground a little more, we’re working on giving angles, doing something different. Everybody knows the Roy Jones system. It’s the same thing over and over again… but there’s only one Roy Jones, the same way there’s only one Michael Jordan.”
(Inept photo by Tim Starks; interviews conducted with David P. Greisman and other media members in Montreal)