OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions: Thank you for joining us on the media call with former IBF Middleweight Champion David Lemieux and WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Champion Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens.
First off, I would like to introduce Team Curtis Stevens. He is the trainer of Curtis Stevens, and he was a great fighter. He’s a good friend. He’s a great trainer today. It is my pleasure to introduce to you John David Jackson. So a few words, if you can, how camp is going.
JOHN DAVID JACKSON, Trainer to Curtis Stevens: Camp is going real well. Curtis is a true professional. He’s dedicated to his craft. This is a fight that he wanted for some time. Like you alluded to, it’s a fight that the fans definitely don’t want to miss.
It’s a bigger fight. Camp is going the way it’s supposed to go. And we’re right on time. And come March 11th you should see an exciting fight from both fighters.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: It’s my pleasure now to introduce to you the WBC Continental Americas Champion Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens, with 29 wins and five losses and 21 KOs.
He hails from Brownsville, Brooklyn to become former NABF and now Continental Americas middleweight champion, and has won two straight fights with a thunderous knockout over then undefeated Patrick Teixeira in May of 2016. And he followed that by a unanimous decision victory over James De La Rosa later in the year. So now he’s ready to end the war of words with Lemieux once and for all. It’s my pleasure to introduce to you Curtis Stevens.
CURTIS STEVENS, WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Champion: Good afternoon, everyone. Training camp, like John said, is going good. Right on time. A lot of work has been done. Last time going in just putting the work in with the hands.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Now I’m going to introduce to you Team Lemieux. We have on the line Marc Ramsay, who is the trainer, who has been doing an amazing job. He’s getting better, more experience, and thanks to his team and leading the charge is Marc Ramsay.
MARC RAMSAY, Trainer to David Lemieux: Hi, everybody. Stevens came back to the gym the beginning of December. Right now, the last week, it was very predictive. And we know that we have a good challenge in front of us, but at the same time everything is in place for a great performance, I believe, next week.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: I want to introduce my partner, Eye of the Tiger Management, and that’s Camille.
CAMILLE ESTEPHAN: Hey, Oscar. Hey, everybody. Thank you very much for being here. We’re extremely excited for this fight. We are going to definitely see the knockout-of-the-year or fight-of-the-year, or both. So keep your seats buckled as you’re watching this fight.
We can’t wait for March 11th around the corner. Thank you for the opportunity. Our partner is Golden Boy, HBO and Tecate, and thank you to both teams for making this happen.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: It’s my pleasure now to introduce to you Canada’s former IBF middleweight world champion, posting a stellar record of 36 wins with three losses and 31 of those wins coming by way of knockout.
Lemieux’s coming off of back-to-back impressive victories over perennial contender and fighter Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia. He had a hard-fought unanimous decision against Argentine fighter Cristian Fabian Rios. And now obviously he’s ready to kick off 2017 with a great fight once again to prove himself that he is someone to reckon with in the middleweight division. My pleasure to introduce to you David Lemieux.
DAVID LEMIEUX, Former IBF Middleweight Champion: Hi, guys. Great to be back. Great to be on. It’s an exciting fight. It’s been a while. I want to shut Stevens down, and here it’s finally set and I’m very excited for this fight.
Obviously he’s a guy that’s come to fight. He’s going to give a good show. So the moment it lasts. I promise one thing if I promise anything, but one thing is for sure: My fans will not be disappointed. And the fans of the boxing world. It’s going to be a great fight.
It’s going to be a great night. Great night for me. I’m extremely excited to get back on top. Curtis Stevens is a step to where I want to go. And I’m very excited and extremely ready. I’ve had a great camp. And there’s nothing that — I’m extremely excited to show the world what I can do. And it’s going to be exciting, and I can’t wait for the fans to watch this fight.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you very much to David. And also fight fans, like I said, you can catch this fight on HBO Boxing After Dark. And now I would like to open it up for questions.
Q. This is for both Curtis and David. Obviously there’s a lot of talk about two other fighters in your division who people would like to see get together. Does this take away, do you think, from attention towards you two, who feel in any other era would be being talked about perhaps a lot more? Your division has a lot of attention because of two names that people are interested in, and that would be of course Canelo Álvarez and Gennady Golovkin. And you both faced Golovkin. Do you think in some ways that it’s diverting attention away from the two of you who, in another era, might be getting a lot more attention?
CURTIS STEVENS: To me, not necessarily, because Gennady and Canelo isn’t happening just yet. Stevens/Lemieux is happening March 11th. So I believe everyone is just waiting until March 11th until the fight day come, see what happens.
DAVID LEMIEUX: I believe after March 11th, a lot of people are going to be talking about Lemieux. They’ll be saying that Lemieux/Canelo which would be, those will be the names.
Q. I saw both of you on the Canelo/Khan undercard. And it seemed that the post fight news conference, you know, you two were pretty friendly with each other; you seem to get along pretty well. Would that be true? And are you having to kind of put a serious face on now that you’re going to face each other?
CURTIS STEVENS: No, I don’t necessarily think we was kind of cool at the start of it. Or at the end of the event, in general.
Like, you know, I am who I am, 24/7, seven days a week. If I’ve got something to say about you I say it to you.
I believe the difference between me and David is David says it to the camera and I say it to directly to his face, instead of when he’s seeing me he has something to say.
So David’s seeing me, David doesn’t say anything. David usually focus shit to the press than —
DAVID LEMIEUX: I don’t think that’s the case.
CURTIS STEVENS: I see it — I see it later on. David, I saw you the week, we came back from the gym. I said what’s up, David? You looked at me, put your head down and kept walking. You was walking inside MGM.
DAVID LEMIEUX: That’s in the movies. March 11th you’re going to put your head down.
CURTIS STEVENS: No —
DAVID LEMIEUX: Put your body down.
CURTIS STEVENS: Hey, champ, I’ve been working right —
CURTIS STEVENS: I can’t wait, champ. I can’t wait.
DAVID LEMIEUX: You’re going to get knocked out. Don’t believe it.
CURTIS STEVENS: Tell the doctor to bring smelly salts. They’re going to need to wake your ass up.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Yeah, yeah, okay. You’re going to get knocked out.
CURTIS STEVENS: No problem. No problem.
DAVID LEMIEUX: You ain’t never fought a guy like me.
CURTIS STEVENS: And you ain’t never fight nobody like me. The difference is I fought a million yous. You never fought someone like me. I don’t see — ain’t no problem. But, listen, no problem. No problem. That could be (indiscernible) guys that beat me. But one thing for sure, you are not —
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m going to destroy you. March 11th.
CURTIS STEVENS: No problem. March 11, meet me in the middle of the ring, and that’s it, okay. Just meet me in the middle of the ring.
DAVID LEMIEUX: That’s what I’m going to do.
CURTIS STEVENS: That’s all you’ve gotta do. Meet me in the middle of the ring. That’s all you’ve got to do.
DAVID LEMIEUX: You don’t have to talk so much.
CURTIS STEVENS: I plan on —
CURTIS STEVENS: The fight is made. I don’t got nothing to say.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Don’t talk so much.
Q. My first question is for —
CURTIS STEVENS: I got what I want.
You’re going to get right what you want. Your whole front furniture will be missing out of your mouth.
Q. Do you feel like maybe, kind of alluded to what the first question was of attention being taken away from this fight, but maybe the fact that this fight is in between two big fights, March 4th, Danny Garcia Sherman and “Triple G” and Jacobs, maybe the fact that there’s a lot of awareness in the sport of boxing because of those fights, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. So this whole month is going to bring more viewers to the fact that there’s a lot of great boxing going on. So maybe that helps instead of hurt it. What do you think, Oscar?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Well, yes, you’re absolutely right. Look, the bottom line is that this fight is on HBO. And millions of fans will be watching it. That’s the bottom line. Not only because it’s the best network in boxing, but because this is a great fight. And this is a real fight.
As you can hear, these guys, they just want to fight. And so the fact that it’s on HBO, the fact that it’s in between two great events, you know, it’s going to create a lot of buzz and attention and the fact that it’s going to be a great fight.
So the fight fans know what exactly is going to happen on March 11th. So everyone’s excited.
DAVID LEMIEUX: You’re going to get knocked out, that’s what’s going to happen.
CURTIS STEVENS: Listen, David, you never talked so much in your life. You must have got to bullshit something; you never talked so much in your life. You gotta bullshit — you never talked so much in your life. You need an energy — energy battery, I see.
Q. David Lemieux’s trainer, what concerns you the most about Curtis going into this fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Nothing.
MARC RAMSAY: To be honest, it’s more about what David Lemieux can bring to that ring, not Curtis Stevens. Curtis is a good boxer. Curtis is a powerful boxer like everybody know. But at the end of the day, I don’t focus that much about Curtis Stevens because I know the result of that fights are on the hands — not in the hand of Curtis. And I think David is a more complete fighter and we’re going to show it next week.
Q. Curt, phenomenal win on your last fight. I know you had some issues with that hand over there and wanted to know like obviously if that hand is obviously feeling 100 percent to go for that fight; and really for David, do you feel that that hand is 100 percent, and if you don’t think it’s 100 percent, do you feel that you could exploit that?
CURTIS STEVENS: My hand is — I hurt it in the De La Rosa fight. It wasn’t broken or anything, just had a little hand contusion. It’s good. Doctors told me to take a month and a half off, don’t use it. I treated it with therapy, and everything’s ready to go.
Q. David, what about you and your team, do you guys think that if the hand is 100 percent, do you think it’s something that you can exploit? What do you guys think on that?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I don’t care if his hand is 100 percent or a thousand percent. I’m going to go in there, I’m going to destroy him.
CURTIS STEVENS: You ain’t doing shit. That’s why — if my hand was messed up (indiscernible).
CURTIS STEVENS: Falling down the steps, shit.
DAVID LEMIEUX: This is what I want. I want you to come like a raging bull. I want you to come like a raging bull, champ. Come.
CURTIS STEVENS: Got a nice spare for you, too.
Q. Curtis, it was your left hand that you hurt in your last fight. You said that you weren’t allowed to use it for about a month and a half. How confident do you feel in your left hand at this point heading into this fight?
CURTIS STEVENS: Oh, I’m confident about it. I use it every day. I use it in sparring. I use it on the bag. I use it. It’s good. My doctor told me not to use it so it could just heal. It was a little contusion. It’s good. I’m ready to go. He cleared me to fight. He cleared me to use it. So I’m good. I’m good to go.
Q. When you say “contusion”, what exactly happened to your hand? Was there like a —
CURTIS STEVENS: No, it must have, was broken before and I didn’t know it was broken. It just healed up on its own. And I believe something was rubbing against it, I believe. Something, I can’t really break it down to you because I’m no doctor. But like something was rubbing, like it was rubbing on something inside my hand that was giving me the pain when I was hitting him. But it’s okay. And he said I’m ready to go.
Q. David, I’m not sure I’ve seen you this emotionally charged before a fight since Purnell Gates. Just describe your emotions going into this and why is it exactly that you’re so worked up?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m not really worked up at all. It’s just stuff sometimes it really makes me laugh just the trash he is, the way he talks and the lack of professionalism he has.
It’s just — to me it doesn’t make no difference. Only making his entrance a lot more rough. So doesn’t matter. But sometimes when he says some things I’ve got to reply just concentrate on my camp and on my stuff.
So there’s emotion — nothing really gets to me. I know what I’m going to do on March 11th. My focus is there. He’s a clown. He wants to play around and put off some funny stuff on Instagram, put my picture up, me getting hit by Golovkin, when he got destroyed a lot worse by Golovkin.
It’s funny to me, like the games he plays. I don’t understand why he has to put other opponents, intermingle with what’s going to happen between him and me. Emotion, no there’s no emotion. I’m going to destroy him and that’s the only emotion I have.
Q. Curtis, question for you: Three of the last four of your fights have gone the distance. Can we somehow maybe expect the unexpected here and see this go longer than the slugfest we all think is going to happen?
CURTIS STEVENS: You know, this is boxing. Anything can happen. He could be knocked out. I could win by a decision. Come March 11th we’ll just have to see what happens. But you never know. This is boxing, anything can happen at the end of the day, you know?
Q. Is there anything that you’re banking on? You say you’re going to destroy him. Do we look forward to three, four round bombs away, or do you think this could actually go to the scorecards?
CURTIS STEVENS: No, I don’t — we personally, no, I don’t think necessarily it’s going to go to the scorecards, no. But like you said, everyone has a turn to get hurt. He may try to survive.
He may just go. You never know. You dig what I’m saying is? And, David, with respect to what you just said, I don’t control Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens’ page. But notice you all watching what’s going in life. I don’t gotta to put a picture up of you getting hit. I really don’t give a damn what happens between you and Golovkin. We both lost to him at the end of the damn day. Just to clear that up with you.
I don’t control that page. But I know you be watching that, you be watching every move I make, huh? Shit. I think it’s funny. Shit.
Q. Obviously with what’s going on in the division right now, the loser of this fight finds himself in a pretty uphill battle. What does the desperation of that do to your efforts for this fight? Does it change the fight plans? Does it make you try to do something that’s more aggressive or more fueled by “I need to be sensational” and kind of maybe let things go a little bit more than I do because I don’t want this in the judge’s hands, because a loss here could be something close to fatal to championship hopes?
CURTIS STEVENS: We both are powerful fighters. So we’re both coming ready at the end of the day. Like I say, we can never really understand what’s going to go on March 11th, you know?
But the winner shall be victorious. To answer your question about what’s going to happen after, I can’t. Because I can’t see into the future. I can’t see March 12th. I can’t see what’s going to happen, you know, but we both are going to come in there to win at the end of the day.
I know he’s going to be in the best shape to put on a good fight and I’ll be in the best shape of my life for the fight.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Coming in to win, coming in strong. And Stevens is going to be in front of me, I’m going to take care of him. Put on a great show. What I can promise is my fans are going to have a great show. It’s going to be very nice and it’s going to be a great night for me.
So I’m excited, ready, March 11th. You guys be watching.
Q. Oscar, can you weigh in on that issue? You’ve seen enough flights like this where like the winner is still in that title talk; the loser, his relevance is going to be a little bit dubious. Is that why you can sell this as a real frontbed?
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Obviously, if the loser puts himself into a small corner. But didn’t necessarily mean that — it’s an uphill battle from there, but because of their styles, because of the fan-friendly style they always produce in the ring, I mean, people are watching them fight and obviously the animosity is going to transcend inside the ring and it’s going to be a great fight.
But you’re right, the winner obviously goes and gets in line to fight. They’re the biggest guys in the sports today in the middleweight division, and the loser then has to fight an uphill battle.
But that uphill is not that steep because of their styles, they’re such fan-friendly styles that people want to keep watching them fight.
THE MODERATOR: Does Team Stevens have any closing comments?
CURTIS STEVENS: No additional comments. See you on March 11th.
THE MODERATOR: Team Lemieux?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Thank you all for being here. Don’t miss March 11th, guys, because you’re going to see Lemieux at his best, the best Lemieux you’ll ever see, that you have ever seen. March 11th, 2017 is our year.
Tickets for this highly anticipated matchup are on sale now and priced at $30, $45, $55 and $75 for ringside seats plus applicable fees and are available at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster(www.ticketmaster.com).
Lemieux vs. Stevens is a 12-round middleweight bout for the WBO Intercontinental, WBC Continental Americas and IBF North American Middleweight titles, presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Eye of the Tiger Management and Main Events, and sponsored by “Tecate, BORN BOLD.” The HBO Boxing After Dark® telecast begins at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.