By Jake Donovan
You can almost always count on a number of sayings to surface when it comes to hyping up a fight. The fighter is training harder than ever. There are absolutely no distractions this time. No other fight is being considered until he gets past the one in front of him. It’s the biggest fight of his life and he shall rise to the occasion.
Such token statements actually turn out to be true every so often. The press hype leading up to Craig McEwan’s crossroads bout with unbeaten Peter Quillin on HBO this weekend qualifies as such a moment.
“This is going to be the biggest fight of my life. I’m coming off of a big performance on HBO, but just fell short,” McEwan (19-1, 10KO) states ahead of this weekend’s co-feature attraction on HBO, which airs live from Cancun, Mexico. “I’m confident. I know Peter, he’s a good guy. We don’t have to fight, but we’re in the same weight division so it just happened. Being back on HBO is just fantastic. I’m ready to go.”
The not-yet-great Scot believed he was equally as ready in his HBO, when as an unbeaten prospect he accepted assignment against resurging contender Andy Lee. The matchup came about after John Duddy – placed on the card (Sergio Martinez-Sergiy Dzinziruk) for no other reason than to sell tickets on St. Patrick’s Day weekend – abruptly pulled out of the show and the sport altogether in immediately announcing his retirement.
In search of a similarly themed co-feature, the network brass thought it’d be keen to match a Scot (McEwan) and an Irishman (Lee). It turned out to be a good call, as the two engaged in an evenly matched contest before Lee scored a stoppage in the 10th and final round to hand McEwan the lone loss of his career.
While not content with the way things turned out, the night proved to serve as a valuable learning experience for McEwan, who insists that all flaws have since been corrected.
“The mistakes I made was standing still too long and trading punches. I was getting tired; I threw a tremendous amount of punches. After the 5th, people will see where I stand. People see you only as good as your last fight. I thought I performed well there as well, but I just got caught. Those mistakes have been fixed.”
What he has yet to properly prepare for is a fighter of Quillin’s pure athleticism. Nobody on McEwan’s resume compares to what the transplanted New Yorker brings to the table, but he believes that his career-long experience – through fights and sparring – will be enough to produce victory and pick up where he left off prior to facing Lee.
“It’s why I’m taking this fight,” McEwan responds in explaining why he needs to fight someone like Quillin. “It’s a big step up for me, but I’m ready. I have the experience. I’ve been in there with tough fighters that take me to the limit. I’m just looking forward to fighting on HBO again.
“In the Andy Lee fight, I showed that I can fight and I can box. I fell just short, but I went from that and bounced back. As long as I stick to my early game plan I will be alright.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].