(On Friday, both he and Guerrero tipped the scales north of 160 before making weight on their second attempts.)
2013 is poised to be a bit of a breakout year for “Kid Chocolate.” Last October in this same venue, he won his first major world title by besting the game Hassan N’Jikam over 12 rounds, flooring the Frenchman six times. The colorful Quillin has always yearned to be on this big stage, he firmly believes he was built for such things.”It is what it is,” he says of the delay. “I’m a boxer 24/7; I just stay in the gym. I keep that mentality. So however, the year’s going to end for me and regardless of what it is, I still learned a lot about myself through every camp.”
Quillin has a belt but he’s far from the recognized champion. That would undoubtedly be Sergio Martinez (who just happens to headline on HBO this weekend against the rugged Martin Murray). Quillin seems to understand this. As of now, he’s a guy with a title but not the recognition he craves.
“I feel like I gotta take it up a notch. I’m talking big names; I’m talking Sergio Martinez, the Daniel Geales, the Gennady Golovkins and whoever else wants it,” stated Quillin, 28-0 (20), who has the connections so often needed in this business. “Al Haymon’s working with me. I hope that he with Golden Boy and my management team will come up with some great game plan to get me to where I want to be.”
But Quillin understands the current boxing landscape and how it affects him.
“As you can see, Showtime and HBO seem like a big fight, already,” he points out. “All the middleweights are on HBO but with that being said, it’s just about me staying focused and staying hungry and I think things will pan out the way they’re going to out the way it’s going to pan out. Hopefully, the fans will get the fights they want to see.”
Currently, Martinez is committed to HBO. Golovkin - who faces Matthew Macklin on June 29th - has become a staple over there too. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is tied to Top Rank, who currently is wed to HBO. So yeah, Quillin, for now, is on the wrong side of the street. But for now, his focus is on Guerrero, a solid guy who got under his skin on a media conference call a few weeks back.
“Yeah, man, sitting on the phone listening to this dude talk about stuff that’s really got nothing to do with nothing. Talking about being the Sammy Sosa of boxing. I don’t really know much about Sammy Sosa besides knowing that people say he was a cheater. Would you say he’s a cheater?”
Well, uh…yeah, no argument there.
“Alright,” continued Quillin, “so you want to be compared to a cheater? And this is what I got to sit there and listen to? Him talking about that he wants to be the Sammy Sosa of boxing? It’s cool that you’re from D.R. [Dominican Republic]. He’s from D.R. and I think what’s most powerful out of everything, when a guy’s from another country and he’s inspired by Michael Jordan and he’s comparing himself to Sammy Sosa? You know who I’m going to compare myself to and want to be the likes of? Jackie Robinson.
(Quillin says he recently watched “42,” the movie on the American baseball pioneer.”I learned a lot,” he said.)
He continued, “Look at those type of guys and see what they did and what they endured on the field and outside the field. And hearing him talk about Sammy Sosa, he wants to be like Sammy Sosa? Look, man, he’s doing it for all the wrong reasons. That’s why he’s not going to beat me April 27th.”
OK, just a wild guess but Quillin probably isn’t a fan of Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds either. But what does he think of Guerrero as a fighter?
“He’s OK; he’s got enough to get an opportunity to showcase my talents against, “he says, almost dismissively, “but I really don’t think too high about nobody in the middleweight division. I’m working towards greatness. I don’t sit around here and call myself ‘the best.’ I work like I want to be the best. And that’s the biggest difference. I don’t got nobody putting air or batteries on my back. I don’t got those people around me. Everything I’m doing is for myself. I’m getting out there and sacrificing and dedicating myself. I’m even working through all the bullsh*t with all the people I deal with.
Eric Brown, who trains Quillin, says he was able to hit the ground running as they reconvened at the Wild Card West. “He came back ready to work. He took care of business like I asked him to do and when he came back, he was right on point.”
Being a beltholder means that you usually get a guy’s best shot. You now are the hunted. Brown believes his charge understands that dynamic. Being a champion comes with certain responsibilities.
“I think he’s becoming more and more focused. He’s starting to get a lot more organized in his life and his everyday situation and he’s embraced the idea of being a champion and what it’s going to take to hang onto that championship,” said Brown, who also works with WBA welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi.
At age 29, Quillin is just now in the thick of his earning and physical prime. It’s been a long road to get here for him and this could be just the beginning of a much longer journey. When asked where he might be a year for now, he says, “Hopefully, I get one of them other belts. I’m unifying the division, doing what my fans want me to do and accomplish in boxing.
“I still got a lot more to accomplish and to work towards and I really don’t give myself enough value when it comes to that beside going in the gym, sacrificing and working hard.”
The HBO card begins at 8:30 p.m., ET/PT, and Showtime starts up at 9 p.m., ET/PT. So the question is which card do you watch first? And in an era with ever increasing dueling dates between the two networks, do you even care anymore about this issue in the era of DVR/TiVo?
It sure beats having the opposite problem.
In addition to the cards on HBO and Showtime, UniMas has a card from Austin, TX featuring lightweight contender Ray Beltran and 2012 U.S. Olympian Jose Ramirez...Sources say the Tyson Fury-Steve Cunningham fight on NBC last week peaked around two million viewers...“Mayweather,” an hour-long feature on, well (who else?), Floyd Mayweather, premieres tonight at 8 p.m., ET/PT, on CBS. This will be narrated by LL Cool J...Anthony Dirrell has been added to the May 3rd show at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, that also features junior welterweight prospect Antonio Orozco and will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net/Deportes...I’ll say it again; the most dynamic player in this NFL Draft was Tavon Austin of WVU. The Rams finally got Sam Bradford some help...Is Geno Smith finally out of the green room? Seriously, I still think he can be a good NFL starter...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, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.