Stevens, Shields to appear on Kovalev vs. Ward undercard

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Updated: October 27, 2016

Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY native Curtis Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) has landed a spot on the highly-anticipated “Kovalev vs. Ward: Pound-for-Pound” HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast on Saturday, November 19, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Stevens will take on James De La Rosa (23-4, 13 KOs) in a middleweight attraction.

In his previous contest on the Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan HBO Pay-TV show, Stevens may have rejuvenated his career by knocking out previously unbeaten Patrick Teixeira of Brazil. Stevens is excited to have his second consecutive fight televised on another major HBO Pay-Per-View card.

“I know it is Kovalev-Ward but now it is Kovalev-Ward-Stevens,” the young Brownsville slugger said. “Time to show out!”

Stevens’ big win against Teixeira elevated Stevens into the rankings of the WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO sanctioning bodies. However, Stevens already fought unified WBC, WBA, and IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who has simply ran out of opponents to fight. In Stevens’ only world title shot, he was soundly defeated by Golovkin for the WBA title in November 2013. Stevens is 3-1, 3 KOs since.

De La Rosa, 28, like Stevens, 31, has been in a big PPV spot before. De La Rosa scored his biggest win, a unanimous decision victory against former WBO champion Alfredo Angulo on the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Rene Maidana SHOWTIME PPV card more than two years ago. De La Rosa, loser of four of his last seven fights, is desperate for another victory.

“Déjà vu all over again,” De La Rosa said. “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!”

In addition to Stevens-De La Rosa, the highly-anticipated professional debut of two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields will open a freeview telecast of “Kovalev vs. Ward: Pound For Pound.” Shields will compete in four-round middleweight bout at two-minutes per round beginning at 7:00 PM/ET.

Shields, a 21-year-old from Flint, Michigan, became the first fighter to win two-consecutive gold medals in the Olympics (2012 London, 2016 Rio de Janeiro). Shields is also a four-time USA National Champion, a gold medalist in the Pan-Am Games, and a two-time World Champion as an amateur boxer.

“After working hard for so many years and having the honor to represent my country at two Olympic games, I am thrilled to take the next big step in my career, fighting professionally and leading the rise of women’s boxing worldwide,” said Shields. “There is no better place to begin the journey than to join the biggest fight of the year, Kovalev vs Ward, and to fight alongside my idol and fellow U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward.  I can’t wait to entertain the fans on Nov.19!”

Like many male fighters who were inspired by the late Muhammad Ali to learn how to box professionally, Shields was equally inspired by Ali’s daughter, Laila Ali, who herself was one of the best female fighters in boxing history. Shields has been fighting since she was 11 and has developed into one of the most talented female boxers in the country.

Aside from become the first American woman to win a Gold medal in boxing, perhaps most importantly, Shields, is also the first in her family to graduate from high school and to enroll in college.

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