This Saturday night at the
Mandalay Bay, before HBO’s lights go on as Zab Judah and Amir Khan unify their
junior welterweight titles, middleweight Peter Quillin takes on Jason
LeHoullier. Yeah, it's not much of a test considering that LeHoullier is
winless in his last six outings (0-5-1, which includes a first round blowout at
the hands of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.). “Kid Chocolate” was originally slated to
face Tarvis Simms, who pulled out with a training injury.
Now, the focus for Quillin
is just to get in the ring and perform. He understands that Marvelous Marvin
Hagler or Carlos Monzon won't be facing him in the opposite corner.
"It really doesn't
matter [who I face]; like I said, hard work pays off during fights and I put in
a lot of hard work for this fight. Unfortunately, I was getting ready for a
certain opponent, for them to have to switch it, the guy coming out with a rib
injury, it was devastating," Quillin said on Saturday afternoon at the
Wild Card Boxing Club after completing his days work, "but you can't let
these things stop you. You gotta get bigger and wiser."
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
"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...