When Brooklyn middleweight Curtis Stevens reflects on November's eighth-round stoppage loss to WBA 160-pound titleholder Gennady Golovkin, he sees himself as a man whose thoughts, if not his fists, betrayed him.
"In my last fight, I was thinking too much," said Stevens. "When I watched tape of it, I didn't let my hands go. When I let my hands go, he was punching, I was backing him up. So I'm like, 'Man, if I could stop thinking so much, the fight would have been mine. The fight would have been much more easy than it was.' But since I didn't do that, I made it a hard fight.
"I was thinking but it wasn't registering and I wasn't reacting. I just need just not think too much and let it flow. It's a learning experience. I was mad when I lost, but I'm not mad anymore. I'm coming back, and it's going to be okay. This next fight, I just have to go in there and do what I do and just be me. Don't be too uptight and just relax and let it flow but at the same time, be smart and just have fun."
Stevens (25-4, 18 knockouts) will attempt to bounce back from the loss to Golovkin against Atlantic City’s Patrick Majewski (21-2, 13 KOs) on a Jan. 24 edition of NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night.
"I leave the past in the past. You can't bring the past to the future because you're still in the past," said Stevens.
"We're doing a lot of sparring and I'm letting my hands go. When I let my hands go, nobody can punch, because I have that type of power that they don't want to get caught in that exchange."
If he is successful at executing his strategy, then don't blink. Prior to meeting Golovkin, Stevens was on a run of four wins that included three first-round knockouts.
"When I go in there and look for the knockout, the knockout's not going to come. So when I go in there and just have fun, then the knockout will come. If it don't, then I'll just box or just beat this guy up for 10 rounds," said Stevens.
"It's going to happen. Everyone can't win every fight, in general. Everyone can't be Floyd Mayweather. It just so happened that that's not the path for me. But I'm going to get in there and do what I know how to do on Jan. 24. I'm not going to say that I was uptight, but I was not relaxed. I was in my 'Go in there and get the belt' mode,' and that had me thinking too much instead of going in there and being in 'fun mode' and just handling my business."
Durodola was last in the ring for October's sixth-round knockout of Mitch Williams, and suffered his lone defeat by fifth-round stoppage against unbeaten Akhror Muralimov in June of last year. Mchunu's only loss was by sixth-round knockout to Zack Mwekassa in September of 2011.