Quillin vs. Zerafa – Oh Lord, Give Us a Kayo
By Allan Cerf, Dog House Boxing (Sept 9, 2015)
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The little known Zerafa, 23, calls himself Pretty Boy - as Floyd once did and has Floyd’s motto “hard work and dedication.” He is a tremendous underdog with good reason. I watched Zerafa’s only loss vs. Russian Arif Magomedov and immediately noted his incredible, lean frame. I was unsurprised to learn he runs up to 18 miles a day in training. A day! The fight with Magomedov was boring and very much like an extended amateur fight. The world ranked Russian and Zerafa traded infrequent meaningful exchanges and even fewer combinations. Both moved well and continually. It’s said the judging was controversial but it’s hard to get worked up about it. Significantly, Zerafa seems to have no Internet Highlight Reel and with all respect, that says a lot about his boxing. Disturbingly, he has been quoted as saying of both the Quillin and other fights that doing his best is what really counts. Huh? Maybe for Frazier and Ali in Manilla, but in general, professional boxers better believe that winning is everything. Or they’re in the wrong sport.
Peter Quillin is another in the endless, but true, boxing saga called “Kid with Bad Past Makes Good Through Boxing.” Quillin’s father came to the U.S. from Cuba on the famous Mariel Flotilla and quickly went to prison. Peter’s inspiring story then tells of a mother with four jobs, a Thanksgiving with no food and a beloved Uncle who believed in him. The likeable Quillin, on and off mean streets, turned to boxing at 13 – very late, in fact, but he had great natural talent, especially, power. Quillin is undefeated which says a lot- though his last fight was a highly entertaining draw with Ireland’s Andy Lee which at points, saw both men down hard, on the canvas. Quillin says outside distractions cost him in the Lee Fight and is the reason he came in overweight. He promised to be in the “best shape ever” (how many boxers say that) for the Zerafa brawl – but in fact will be three pounds over the 160 limit. NOT good. Not really acceptable.
Reach: ** 3.60
Average of all factors: 3.45
Reach: ** 3.65
Average of all factors: 3.34
The Fight: Anything less than a KO will be a setback for Quillin, Al Haymon’s boxing series and NBC. This isn’t Europe or say, Russia, where Zerafa was recently defeated - where folks will watch light-hitting, strategic bouts on TV, or even regularly at arenas. Quillin definitely has the dynamite and should oblige. I particularly love his fast-twitch, laser right hand, aggression and finisher’s instincts. His problems with weight and his own joke that perhaps he should fight at Light-Heavy aside - Michael Zerafa and his superb cardio are in for a tough night. Both move well and defend well but Quillin’s concussive power gives him the big edge. I don’t think there’s much more to it.
Late Flurries: Fond of manicures and a dapper appearance, family-man Quillin, when suited and booted, looks exactly like a handsome Brooks Brothers model. Zerafa meanwhile, was recently photographed ripped and wearing little but a bow tie – and insists that he was at a party and not a strip club. Chuckles aside, Quillin used to fight 4 times a year but his activity has steeply declined. Do he, his Team, or Haymon know why? 4 fights a year would aid his weight issues by keeping him constantly in training. Despite 100 amateur fights, Zerafa says repeatedly: merely competing hard is enough. It isn’t. Why is the young man a professional fighter? On no data, I say the facts support “the thrill.”
England’s Carl Froch has stated that the austerity of boxing was NOT worth it. When he discovered that fact, he was deep in his career and responded by training even harder, like a maniac and taking on tremendous competition. Like him or no, this dedication allowed Froch to forge an iron-clad resume. If Quillin or Zerafa are hedging about boxing, they should take heed.
The good thing that emerges from Quillin vs. Zerafa on free TV is that if Quillin gets his KO, or even if the fight ends in tedium, fans, Al Haymon, NBC – and the sport, will know just how serious Zerafa and Quillin are about the Fight Game. And so will the combatants.
*Please note that fighter scorecards are figured versus each other. So, while Zerafa has 100 amateur fights, he has zilch meaningful pro experience in my opinion, whereas Quillin with a puny 15 amateur bouts has deep professional experience. Neither are tremendously experienced and their grades are figured against one another- not other middleweights.
** The true reach of both fighters is unknown.