LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (October 6, 2016): Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) returns to the ring and the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on the Kovalev-Ward “Pound For Pound” non-televised undercard to face James “The King” De La Rosa (23-4, 13 KOs) in a ten-round middleweight showdown.
Stevens, 31, of Brownsville, Brooklyn returned to the ring on May 7 of this year and stopped previously undefeated Brazilian prospect Patrick Teixeira in the second round on the HBO Pay-Per-View® undercard of Canelo-Khan. The victory over Teixeira catapulted Stevens back into the ranking of all four sanctioning bodies, including top ten ratings in both the IBF and WBC. He is hoping to continue that momentum and secure another shot at the middleweight title.
De La Rosa, 28, is originally from Mexico but now resides in San Benito, Texas. His most recent win was a unanimous decision upset over former title contender Alfredo Angulo on the undercard of Mayweather-Maidana. De La Rosa has suffered two back-to-back losses since his win over Angulo but both have come at the hands of two previously undefeated prospects in Hugo Centeno Jr. and Jason Quigley. Commonly, fighters in his position would prefer a tune-up to get back on a winning track but, in this case, De La Rosa opted out of that easy route and decided to test himself against another former title contender in Stevens.
According to Stevens, “I’m happy someone is willing to fight me. Bless the Gods. Now, it’s time to turn it up a notch and get ready to check in and check out. The Bully is back!”
This will be Stevens’s second fight working with world-renowned trainer and former world champion John David Jackson. Jackson added, “Curtis Stevens is happy to be stepping back in the ring on November 19 against De La Rosa. He is eager to show the world that he deserves another chance to win the middleweight world title.”
“It’s always good to fight on a big stage,” said De La Rosa. “As always, I’m coming to fight and put on a show. I know I have a tough fighter in front of me in Curtis Stevens. With his style and my style, we’ll warm the fans up for Kovalev-Ward. Thanks to Main Events and AC Sports Management, LLC for putting this together.”
De La Rosa’s manager Adrian Clark added, “This is a must win situation for James and I know that he has the potential to pull off an upset. Curtis Stevens is a very dangerous opposition but again, I believe that JDLR can spoil things and leave Vegas with a ‘W’. It is great to finally work with Main Events again. It has been too long!”
Main Events’ matchmaker and 2015 NABF Matchmaker of the Year Jolene Mizzone had this to say about the match-up: “Kudos to both guys for taking this fight. Curtis Stevens could have waited around for someone to finally accept his challenge, but he wants to keep busy and challenge himself at the same time. James could have looked for that every popular “tune-up” fight but instead opted for a much tougher competitor in Stevens. It’s a breath of fresh air when I get to work with boxers who want to fight!”
Kovalev vs. Ward takes place Saturday, Nov. 19, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. "Pound for Pound" is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and sponsored by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.