By Ian S Palmer
Curtis Stevens vs James De La Rosa Preview November 19th
American middleweight Curtis Stevens will be taking on James De La Rosa of Mexico this Saturday, November 19th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 10-round bout is for Stevens’ WBA Continental Americas middleweight title. The fight is on the undercard of the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward Light Heavyweight Championship tilt which is being shown in pay per view in North America and on Sky Sports 1 in the UK. Stevens last fought in May when he stopped Patrick Teixeira in the second round for the vacant title. De la Rosa’s last outing was also in May and he dropped a 10-round unanimous decision to Jason Quigley.
For the 31-year-old Stevens of Brownsville, New York, this is just his second fight since October of 2014 as he sat out all of last year. However, he did fight Gabriel Rosado in a Big Knockout Boxing venture in a pit with no ropes, but it wasn’t considered to be a pro boxing match and therefore doesn’t appear on his official record. He’ll be entering the ring with a record of 28-5 along with 21 Kos. Most boxing fans may know Stevens from his gutsy performance in an eighth round TKO loss to WBA Champion Gennady Golovkin in November of 2013.
Stevens said he learned a lot in the loss to Golovkin, such as just letting his hands go instead of thinking too much in the ring. He remarked that he was looking for the perfect shot against the champion, but still feels he gave Golovkin a pretty good run for his money. He had won four fights in a row before meeting Golovkin with three of them coming by way of stoppage. However, he then lost to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam by 12-round unanimous decision in October of 2014. Stevens stands just 5-feet-7-inches tall and has a 71.5-inch reach.
Stevens turned pro back in 2004 and has fought 168 rounds since then. He’s lost to N’Jikam, Golovkin, Marcos Primera, Andre Dirrell, and Jesse Brinkley. The only other man to stop him was Primera in the eighth round in 2006. His best wins have been against Teixeira, Darnell Boone, Saul Roman, Carl Daniels, Patrick Majewski, Tureano Johnson and Derrick Findley. Stevens has good power with his current knockout ratio being 64 per cent.
De La Rosa is 28 years old and has a record of 23-4 with 13 Kos. He’s been struggling lately though with two straight defeats and all four of his losses have come in his past seven fights. He’s 5-feet-10-inches tall with a 72-inch reach which gives him a three-inch height advantage. De La Rosa turned pro in 2005 and has 148 rounds under his belt and has a 48 per cent knockout mark. He prefers to fight at a distance and control the pace of his fights with a good jab which he follows up with a hook. He’ll need to throw quick, accurate punches to keep Stevens at bay and will also need to display a solid chin.
De La Rosa has also been beaten by decisions by Marcus Willis and Allen Convers and was stopped in the fifth round by Hugo Centeno Jr. in December of 2014. Like Stevens, he also sat out all of 2015. Ironically, his lone win in his last three outings was against arguably the toughest opponent of his career as he beat slugger Alfredo Angulo by 10-round unanimous decision in September of 2014. He also dropped his fellow countryman in the second round on the way.
De La Rosa seems to a bit of a puzzle with a win over the hard-hitting Angulo, but four losses in his last seven contests. He has good boxing skills, but is hard to figure out. On the other hand, Stevens likes to let his hands go and prefers power over finesse. What you see is what you get with Stevens, so I’ll go with him by late stoppage or close decision.