Middleweight contender Curtis Stevens is promising renewed mental focus under new trainer John David Jackson as they prepare to face undefeated Brazilian slugger Patrick Teixeira May 7 on the Canelo-Khan undercard.
Stevens, who has not fought since losing a wide decision to Hassan N’Dam in October 2014, blames that listless performance on a contentious custody battle over his son.
“My son’s mother she ran off with my son and I couldn’t find her for about a year and a half, but that’s all out the window now,” says Stevens. “I have him back now, so I’m ready to go in there and put in the work.”
Said work has been under the guidance of John David Jackson, head trainer for Sergey Kovalev. Previously trained by his uncle, Stevens made the switch in an effort to move away from his “one-punch knockout” reputation. Although his slugging style has produced thrilling victories over the likes of Saul Roman and Tureano Johnson, it proved too one-dimensional to succeed against elite opponents like WBA titlist Gennady Golovkin.
“I’m not going to say he complements my style, but you know, he’s been a fighter,” says Stevens, who’s relocated to Florida for closer promixity to Jackson’s gym. “So a fighter that fought back in the day, he’s turned coach now, he see things that other people can’t see. So he’s making me more relaxed instead of making me more so much just going in there and kill, you know.”
Stevens’ opponent, 26 year old Patrick Teixeira, is a high workrate fighter that’s knocked out his last three opponents. With Teixeira being under the Golden Boy banner, the veteran Stevens is keenly aware he’s been selected as a litmus test for Teixeira’s potential. However, Stevens believes his opponent is banking on him being the low activity fighter of year’s past.
“Staying active [is my key]. Staying active because I remember before I used to just train when I had a fight coming up,” Stevens explained. “But as you get older, you feel like you have to stay active. You have to stay active. So I’ve been in the gym all the time. I’ve been running. I’ve been sparring. I was with Canelo not too long ago getting ready for Cotto so I was down there with him for two months.
I’m in the gym right now as we speak. Chemistry’s there. Just putting our puzzle pieces all together so the puzzle can be complete for May 7th.”
Canelo vs. Khan will be broadcast live on HBO pay-per-view.