Curtis Stevens plans to ‘whip some ass’ vs. Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam
While former WBO titleholder Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam plans to deliver “a boxing lesson” on Oct. 1 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., his middleweight rival, Curtis Stevens plans to “whip some ass.”
“I’ve been training my ass off. I understand that nothing is going to be given to me. Some people are going to be handed titles or awarded big fights but nothing is going to be given to me,” said Stevens, 29, who will be after his third straight stoppage victory.
“I have to go out there and work for it and take it. So for this fight, I’ve gone above and beyond my level. I’m not going in there looking for the knockout but I am going in there to whip some ass.”
Stevens (27-4, 20 knockouts) was last in action for a 10th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Tureano Johnson in April that had followed a 46-second stoppage of Patrick Majewski in January. Prior to Majewski, Stevens was stopped in eight rounds in November by WBA beltholder Gennady Golovkin.
“The biggest thing I learned against Golovkin is don’t think too much. Just let my hands go. Have fun. I was looking for the perfect shot, so just have fun when you’re in there. I gotta act like it’s just another day in the gym. The fight’s not over until it’s over,” said Stevens, who arguably may have provided Golovkin with his stiffest challenge to date.
“My opinion doesn’t matter. I lost. I’m a fighter. I’m a man. I’m the one in there. Whether or not I gave him his hardest fight, thus far, I still lost. I gave him a good run for his money before the fight was stopped, you know, but that’s not sufficient for me. I shall shine again. I need to let my hands go a lot more but every situation is a learning lesson for me.”
Entering his fight with Golovkin, Stevens had won four consecutive bouts, three by knockout. He doesn’t believe N’Jikam will be able to stay out of range of his power, let alone withstand it for very long.
“If he thinks that he’s going to dance around all night, then he’s got his work cut out for him,” said Stevens. “I believe that the last guy that I fought who was able to dance around was Andre Dirrell and [N’Jikam]’s no Andre Dirrell.”
A Cameroon native living in France, N’Jikam (30-1, 18 KOs) is in pursuit of his fourth straight win since losing a unanimous decision loss – and his WBO title – to Peter Quillin at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. in October 2012. The loss was N’Jikam’s first fight on American soil.
N’Jikam, 30, bounced back from the loss to Quillin with a unanimous decision over Anthony Fitzgerald in December 2013 followed by a fourth round stoppage of Ricardo Marcelo Ramallo in February. In his last fight at the Barker Hangar in April, N’Jikam unanimously decisioned 37-year-old Fulgencio Zuniga.
“When he fought Quillin, it was a great fight, even though he was down six or eight times,” said Stevens, whose fight with N’Jikam is an IBF middleweight eliminator bout for the right to face beltholder Sam Soliman.
“But I was looking at him when he fought the old man [Zuniga] the other day and I was like, ‘Damn, he went 12 rounds with this mother f–ker.’ The old man caught him with couple of shots and I was thinking, ‘If I catch him with those same shots, he’s going to be down and out.’ But everyone fights everyone differently but what I’ve seen, he’s not that impressive.”
N’Jikam contends he was not at 100 percent against Quillin in the wake of “six surgeries in my mouth because there was an infection.” Unlike Quillin, who stands 5-foot-11, Stevens stands 5-7, presenting what the 5-11 N’Jikam considers to be a physical advantage in his favor.
“Curtis Stevens is smaller than Peter Quillin and it’s easier to fight with someone who is shorter than me than someone who is taller or my same height,” said the N’Jikam, who was dropped twice each in the fourth, sixth and 12th rounds by Quillin.
“Quillin is more of a boxer who waits a lot before he comes in, so I’m going to be able to use my boxing skills more against Stevens. I’m going to be able to adapt to whatever Stevens brings and if he makes a mistake, I’ll give him a good boxing lesson.”
However, Stevens said he’s ready for whatever N’Jikam has to offer.
“At the end of the day, there is no pressure on me. He’s the one who is talking all of the junk,” said Stevens. “Like he’s saying that he’s going to give me a boxing lesson and this and that and the other. But I’ve just got to win. When he’s in there and his boxing lesson doesn’t succeed, what’s going to happen?”
Photo by Rich Graessle