The Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound for Pound” HBO Pay-Per-View telecast on November 19 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. will now include the 10-round middleweight showdown between Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) and James “The King” De La Rosa (23-4, 13 KOs).
Stevens fought earlier this year on the Canelo-Khan HBO Pay-Per-View telecast and scored a spectacular second-round upset knockout of then-undefeated Brazilian Patrick Teixeira. When asked about the upgrade to the televised card Curtis replied, “I know it is Kovalev-Ward but now it is Kovalev-Ward-Stevens. Time to show out!”
De La Rosa was in a similar situation when he defeated former title contender Alfredo Angulo on the undercard of Mayweather-Maidana. He said, “Déjà vu all over again. The same thing happened when I fought Angulo. I am happy to fight on the PPV telecast. I need this win so I’ll leave it all in the ring come November 19.”
Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva added, “After we announced Curtis would be fighting on the untelevised portion of the Kovalev-Ward PPV card, we heard from a lot of fans asking that the fight be moved to TV so they could see Curtis. What the fans want, the fans get!”
Stevens, 31, of Brownsville, Brooklyn returned to the ring this past May 7 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 10 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.