Simms represented a step-up of sorts for Quillin, who has a mark of 24-0 with 18 stoppages.
"From what the guy was saying about me, he had all the tools and knowledge to beat me and like I said, one man’s lost opportunity is another man’s gain," he said. "Tarvis Simms would have got me ready for a lefty, which is Sergio Martinez and I wanted that fight so bad to prove to the world how I would do against a lefty." Quillin is just relieved to be on this card in Las Vegas. The worst feeling for any boxer is putting in weeks and months of hard work, only to have the plug pulled. You don’t get paid for training. "I asked them, ’Am I fighting?’ My manager goes, ’Yeah, you fighting; don’t worry about that. They’re committed to fighting you.’ I said, ’Well, then no problem.’ It may not be a guy of Tarvis Simms’ caliber but it will be a guy up in there with me. That was the most important thing to me."
Make no bones about it; this is about Quillin being able to stay active and earn a few bucks, coming off his late April stoppage win over Jesse Brinkley in Reno, Nevada. "That’s what it is," admitted Eric Gomez, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions, which handles Quillin. "When you have a last minute fall out, it’s very, very stressful. It’s very difficult and especially, he was getting ready in camp for about a month-and-a-half for a southpaw. So what I tried doing is getting someone similar and someone’s that’s approvable with the commission and Jason LeHoullier fit the bill. I would’ve preferred someone who would give him more of a test- and I’m not putting down LeHoullier at all- but when it’s this late in the game and a guy falls out, you have a week or two for someone to go in there against a prospect like Quillin. You gotta just save the fight."
Eric Brown, who trains Quillin alongside Freddie Roach, told Maxboxing that at this point, all his fighter should worry about are the things he can control. "That’s all; it doesn’t matter who we fight. As long as Petey’s doing what he’s supposed to do- it doesn’t matter who we fight, Tarvis Simms, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make a difference. Tarvis Simms apparently wasn’t in the shape he should’ve been because if he can break his rib with his cup on, then he definitely didn’t want to get hit in the body with Quillin. So I make Petey work on everything all the time, be it a southpaw, orthodox fighter, it doesn’t matter; boxer, brawler, it doesn’t matter. I told him, ’It isn’t about the guy that’s in there with you- it’s about you. You go in there and do what you’re supposed to do; don’t worry about him.’ So, bottom line, that’s what we do."
In talking about his boxer’s growth in the last year or so since he’s come out west, Brown states, "It’s tremendous. I mean, Petey’s always been a talented fighter. When he came here, he was a very talented fighter. He already knew how to fight. Basically, what I’ve tried to do along with Freddie is just try to refine what he does and add to some of the things that he does. Improve his defense, sharpen up his punching, his counterpunching and getting him back on using his left hand a lot more, just making him more of a complete fighter."
"I have to say my the largest part is my confidence," said Quillin, who came out here from New York as his career stalled. "I feel like I can take on the world now and it’s only through the guidance of others, I got two hardworking trainers with me in Freddie and Eric. These guys see me taking on the world with the hard work and me being in here sparring with top quality guys and keeping up the level and perform higher than these guys. I have to prove to the world I am ready for that opportunity."
So how close is Quillin to the mountaintop?
"I think I’m one or two fights away from taking on a real serious guy," he answers. Brown echoes those statements, "I think we’re maybe a fight or two away from a world championship at ’60 or ’68; I prefer to go at ’60. We took three fights at catchweights, just basically to get him back out there and get him going. That’s what was available. There weren’t any ’60-pounders that wanted to fight him at the time but we’re being increasingly trying to get him to 160 pounds. We want him to fight exclusively at 160 pounds, win a title in that division and then we’ll talk about what’s going to happen after that."
There’s no question that Quillin has ability but he is sorely untested and it’s a huge leap to take from the Dennis Sharpes and Brinkleys of the world to “Maravilla.” Gomez states. "We’ve been offered the Sergio Martinez fight; we all agreed it’s too early. [Quillin] needs rounds. Peter’s a very talented fighter; he’s got all the tools to be a champion but he was inactive for such a long time. So he just has to get the rounds in. That’s what he needs and we felt that he was going to get that with the Tarvis Simms fight. So it’s just a big letdown when there’s a fall out like this because I thought it was going to be a terrific fight. I felt that- believe it or not- the style complements Martinez. Obviously, Martinez is a lot better but it was going to prepare him for something like that."
While this fight will not be televised in the States, his next outing very well might be. "He’s ready for a showcase fight," said Gomez, whose company has pay-per-view shows coming up on September 17th and October 15th. "This was going to be somewhat of a showcase; we were working on getting some highlights of him on HBO. It was going to be on the international feed but hey, things happen for a reason and I guess it wasn’t to be but he’s ready. He’s one of our better prospects and I agree with them; they’re about a step or two away from a legitimate title fight or a marquee fight."
One of the problems plaguing Martinez is that right now, he lacks recognizable dance partners, which is why he is facing Darren Barker on October 1st. There is a bit of a vacuum within the division and the colorful and personable Quillin believes he can help fill that void.
"This is what it is; ready?" asked Quillin, a popular figure at the gym because of his outgoing personality, "Everybody is looking for a star in boxing. If you name all the top stars right now, you’re going to name two that’s in the United States- that’s Pacquiao and Mayweather. That’s the only two names in the sport right now. I think I’m a breakthrough star as far as the middleweight division, as far as boxing. The only thing is, in the middleweight division, a lot of Europeans hold titles, Felix Sturm, Dmitry Pirog, and I think those guys took those titles over there and milk it for what it’s worth. You can’t knock it because boxers, we’re the type of athletes that never get respect. We don’t show each other respect; we definitely don’t get respect from other athletes, ya’ know what I’m sayin’? And we work hard to get these lil’ titles- a lot of people say ’made up’ titles- but they are an accomplishment in boxing.
"I think it’s a lil’ corrupt at times but sometimes, these are things guys like me work for."
R AND R
Noted conditioning and nutritional guru Victor Conte, who is becoming more and more prominent in the world of prizefighting, believes that most boxers actually overwork themselves leading up to a contest.
"What I’ve seen here, more often than not, when elite boxers come to work with me and we do the testing- without naming specific athletes- I see that their immune systems are suppressed and they’re on the verge- if not already there- of overtraining syndrome. So really, this business of training twice a day, three hours each time, and six days a week and resting on Sunday is going to put you in a catabolic state, it’s going to suppress your immune system. It’s not going to enable you to achieve peak performance in training or in the ring," explained Conte, who helped Judah prepare for this week’s assignment and convinced him to take more days off. "And there needs to be significant recovery intervals to offset the very deep training loads, the ’green light days,’ they call them and yeah, no more than two, three days max and then you need a day of rest."
Quillin and Martinez have not fought inside the ring yet but they did do some 140-character back-and-forthing over the weekend. After I spoke with Quillin on Saturday afternoon, he showed me some of the sparring he did with Martinez on Twitter and trust me, he took it pretty seriously. Quillin’s Twitter handle is @KIDCHOCOLATE, while Martinez goes by @maravillabox.
You just gotta love modern technology. Imagine the great Archie Moore back in the day, when he was avoided, going crazy on this thing and just calling out everybody. That would’ve been priceless.
Gomez confirmed that Gary Russell Jr. will face Eric “Ponch” Estrada on the untelevised portion of Judah-Khan this weekend...Frankie Gomez will return to the ring on August 26th in Chi-Town when he faces Adrian Granados on “Solo Boxeo” on Telefutura...Tickets for Judah-Khan are priced at $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50. They can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, MandalayBay.com or by calling 800-745-3000. It’ll be interesting to see how this event does in Vegas in the middle of summer...Despite what anyone has reported or speculated, Manny Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz has not been fired. Also, he is not a candidate to replace Ross Greenburg at HBO either...It was made official on Monday; the “Super Six” final between Carl Froch and Andre Ward will be held at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. OK, over/under, does this do 7,500 paying customers on the night of October 29th?...Check your local listings because ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Classic will be re-airing the insta-classic bout between Pawel Wolak and Delvin Rodriguez that took place last week on “Friday Night Fights” on Wednesday and Friday nights. The exact times are on my Twitter page/timeline...Tickets for the bout between Sergio Martinez and Darren Barker at the Boardwalk Hall go on sale today at noon. Tickets are priced at $300, $200, $150 and $50. They can be purchased by calling 800-745-3000 or by logging on to Ticketmaster.com. OK, does this fight get more than 2,500 real paying customers?...Another season of “Hells Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay has begun. I can’t lie; I watch just about anything with this guy in it...Should I be excited about final season of “Entourage” on HBO? I thought last season was decent- at best...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.