As Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (27-5, 20 KOs) prepares to step into the ring against Patrick Teixeira (26-0, 22 KOs) on the HBO Pay-Per-View undercard for the May 7 Canelo-Khan telecast live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, he has a new trainer, a new nickname and new plan of attack.
Stevens, 31, originally from Brownsville, Brooklyn recently moved to South Florida and hooked up with elite boxing trainer John David Jackson. Jackson, a former world champion, also trains Main Events’ stablemate and WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. Curtis’ decision to move forward with a new trainer also inspired him to drop his “Showtime” nickname. He said, “Me and my uncle [Curtis’ former trainer/uncle Andre Rozier] isn’t working together anymore and ‘Showtime’ was a thing of the past ever since I was playing football in high school. It is time for a new era, new person, new identity. I am a wrestling fanatic so I get ‘Cerebral Assassin’ from Triple H. A cerebral assassin is very distinctive with his skill and I like that.”
Stevens and Jackson starting working together in February after Stevens spent time sparring with Canelo Alvarez while he prepared for his November fight against Miguel Cotto. Curtis said he learned a lot during his time at Canelo’s camp and that was part of his motivation to change his game plan. Stevens said, “Canelo told me to be more relaxed. We’ve got ten rounds to fight, so I don’t need to go in there and try to knock him out in the first like I usually do. Not every shot has to be the finishing shot.”
Jackson echoed that same sentiment when the two first got together. According to Stevens, “Mostly we are just working on me being relaxed. We are working on my slips and working on going to the body, me just using my speed and not just relying on the power.My uncle was more ‘go get ’em.’ John is like that too but do it in a calm and casual way instead of always going for the knockout. He is just more relaxed and wants me more relaxed.”
John David believes Curtis has all the tools he needs to be successful, but in the past he relied too much on his powerful left hook. Jackson explained, “Curtis can box. He just never used his full boxing capability. I am making him throw more punches, go inside and go to the body. He has a tremendous right hand. The power is still there but the delivery is better now. He has a great jab too. He has all the tools to be a world champion. He was relying solely on the left hook and when he didn’t knock the guy out he had no other game plan. Now he can break these guys down systematically and then knock them out. He’s listening but it takes time. I think he and I will need three or four fights before it really comes together the way it should but glimpses of it are coming now as we work together more and more.”