The CBZ Newswire

Golovkin Sparring Partner, Derrick ‘Superman’ Findley, on Golovkin-Stevens and Career

by on Nov.02, 2013, under Boxing News

By Juan C. Ayllon

Golovkin camp photos by Chris Robinson/

Derrick Findley, at right, takes it to William Johnson en route to a six round unanimous decision (photo by Juan C. Ayllon)

Derrick Findley, at right, takes it to William Johnson en route to a six round unanimous decision (photo by Juan C. Ayllon)

GARY, IN – It’s often said that bodybuilder types don’t do well in boxing.  That doesn’t apply to Derrick “Superman” Findley, whose bulging back, shoulders and biceps generate tremendous torque that have hammered-out 13 knockouts of his 20 wins.  His victims include a young Andrzej Fonfara (who won his light heavyweight IBF World Title eliminator vs. Gabriel Campillo in August), Ronald Hearns (son of all-time great Tommy Hearns), and a litany of second-tier fighters.  In September, he stopped undefeated Mike Jimenez, who was 11-0 with 8 knockouts, but was battered mercilessly until his corner threw in the towel. That win became a no-contest when Findley tested positive for banned substances.

Forged in the mean streets of Chicago’s south side, Findley is very durable. He’s never been halted – save once to the ultra-talented world challenger Anthony Dirrell in March 2009 – but he can be out-slicked and out-boxed.  This accounts for his 11 losses, which reads like a “Who’s Who” of up and comers in the sport.  Names like Andre Ward (now WBA and WBC Super Middleweight Champion), J’Leon Love, Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez, Andre Dirrell, and Curtis Stevens fill this column in his ledger. 

And it’s that last name that caught the attention of Abel Sanchez, who trains World Boxing Association and International Boxing Association Middleweight Champion Gennady Golovkin.   Undefeated at 27-0 with 24 knockouts, Golovkin faces Curtis Stevens, a puncher with a record of 25-3 with 18 knockouts at Madison Square Garden tonight.  A former super middleweight, since he dropped down to 160 lbs. in 2012, he’s registered three scary knockouts of his four last fights, with the lone hiccup being a unanimous decision win over Findley in April 2013.

Findley got the call to serve as a sparring partner for Golovkin.

“Abel told me that you’ve been in there with a lot of guys who can punch,” Findley recalls. “But you’ve never been in with someone who can hit like Gennady.”  He was right.

Gennady Golovkin in training (photo courtesy of Chris Robinson/

Gennady Golovkin in training (photo courtesy of Chris Robinson/

Photo by Chris Findley/

Photo by Chris Findley/


“The first time he hit me, it was shocking!” he says.  Refusing to don a padded protective shield around his torso, early on, he discovered this was a mistake.  “The dude hit me and when he hit me to the body, I went, ‘Oh my God!’  He hit me on the nose and I was sore for days.  I’ve never been in with someone that powerful.  It was unreal.  He was extremely strong.”

No doubt, some of his preparation for this experience came on the hardscrabble streets.  Born in Gary, Indiana, he, along with siblings Jesse, Anthony, Tiffany and Diane Brown, were raised by his mother, Diane Findley on the rugged Southside of Chicago.  “I don’t know my dad,” he deadpans.

Sports oriented, Findley got into boxing at age 13.  “A close friend was always telling me his little boxing stories and showing me his amateur boxing trophies.  I went down there and learned how to do it in a week or so.”

Graduating from Harlan High School (where he played football freshman year), he accumulated an amateur record of 98-11.  The amateur scoring system did not suit his slugging, brawling style well.

“I was always getting to the finals but getting beat,” he says. “I would hit a guy with six solid punches, but getting hit with six jabs with no snap would count just the same.”  One of his foes was Andre Dirrell, whom he fought again as a pro.

Kicking off his pro career with a third round stoppage of Ricardo Swift in October 2005, he suffered his first setback against the hometown favorite, Jorge Gonzalez, two fights later.  It was a dubious decision. Five fights later, Findley suffered a six round decision loss to Andre Ward, who was undefeated at 9-0.

“The thing a lot of the time is that I’m fighting guys in their back yard,” he sighs.  “I need a knockout to win.  I’ve lost some clearly.  But to be honest, the only guy who really dominated me was Andre Durrell.  They’re short notice fights, no excuses.”

He bludgeoned Ronald Hearns – an athletic boxer who had the name but lacked the overall abilities of his father, Thomas “Hitman” Hearns,  – inside two rounds in October 2012, then lost his next bout to J’Leon Love, a touted prospect at 14-0, by unanimous decision in February 2013.

This brings us to Curtis Stevens, whom Findley lost to via unanimous decision in eight rounds at Madison Square Garden in April.

“Curtis didn’t really hit hard,” he says, citing that Stevens’ primary advantage in their encounter was speed.

And when pressed to assess what Curtis Stevens’ chances are when he faces Golovkin tonight, he pulls no punches.

“Nothing at all!”  He exclaims. “Curtis is just talking himself into a payday!  He has no business in the ring with Gennady. He throws a lot of pitty-pat punches from the amateurs – he throws a pitty-pat punch and turns it over!  He’s not the big puncher they say he is.”

He elaborates:  “He’s just catching guys.  He’s going to have to get in close.  He’s too small [at 5’ 7”].  Gennady’s like 5’10”.  I really don’t see Curtis lasting long.  He’s not at that level!”

Summing up, Findley says, “I would be really shocked if he did any bit decent.  Once Gennady hit him… I got several sparring sessions to get used to him; he’s got only a few rounds.”

In his next fight after Stevens, Findley suffered a controversial draw to Phil “The Drill” Williams in his opponent’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota in July.

Next up was a unanimous decision loss to Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez (26-0, 20 KO’s) in August.  When asked about the fight, he said, “That was the most boring-est fight!  He didn’t hit me, I didn’t hit him.  He jabbed and moved around.  I couldn’t catch up with him.”

When asked if he thinks that, as one friend suggested, that Sanchez might be the guy to upset the Golovkin applecart, he said, “Oh, no, not at all!  He has some potential, but he doesn’t have the killer instinct.  He’s a good fighter, but Gennady’s too much!”

Findley sustained a cracked tooth in that fight and, as a result, he was prescribed Codeine for the pain.  It was a prescription that would cost him a win.

Findley, at right, punishes Jimenez (photo by Tom Barnes)

Findley, at right, punishes Jimenez (photo by Tom Barnes)

Brought in as a stepping stone for the exciting 11-0 Mike Jimenez, Findley punished him unmercifully, dropping him hard with a pulverizing right and garnering a stoppage win when his corner threw in the towel, only to have it erased on a technicality.

“It was just Codeine for my tooth. I fought three weeks before that fight with Gilberto Ramirez.  I had a cracked tooth and a cut.” He says.  “After a while, I got the stitches removed and I thought why not?  I had no idea that Codeine was a banned substance.  I fought the best in the world and all the sudden, I fight Mike ‘Hollywood’?”

“I didn’t even run from that dude!  I had to eat to make weight — I’m not a super middleweight!” he laments.  “I was eating Twinkies to make weight!”

Fortunately, the money he makes from the fight game provides him a comfortable living, but without backers, he needs to stay in the gym and be willing to take fights on relatively short notice.

At the roller rink before he took my call, he says, “I really go to the movies — I’m not a clubber.  I go out to eat, movies, little simple things, I don’t do anything spectacular. My life is pretty much just boxing. I’ve been in training camps or getting ready for fights.  I really don’t have much of a life.”

That’s not to say he wouldn’t like a big shot at a title.

“I would love to fight all of the guys out there like Sergio Martinez, Peter Quillin, Gabe Rosado,” he says.  “I can’t really pick.”

“It takes money to makes fights. I can’t really make plans, but I don’t have the backing.  I don’t have that blessing.  The only thing I can do is stay in shape and wait for that call.  The only thing I plan is to stay in shape and wait for that opportunity.”

#   #    #

For more photos on the Gennady Golovkin camp experience, go to:

  • Share/Save/Bookmark
:, , ,

Comments are closed.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!