By Jake Donovan
In an era where even eight-round fighters are making demands before agreeing to step into the ring, the ‘line-‘em-up-and-I’ll-take-‘em-out’ mentality carried by undefeated middleweight Peter Quillin is a refreshing reminder that old school values still exist in the new school version of the game.
Quillin prepares for his HBO debut, which comes this weekend against once-beaten middleweight contender Craig McEwan. The bout serves as the co-feature to the anticipated super welterweight showdown between Alfredo Angulo and James Kirkland, in which the winner receives a mandatory title shot against Saul Alvarez.
Not quite as much is at stake in the middleweight co-feature, at least not in the form of shiny trinkets or even the promise of a chance at fighting for one in the winner’s next fight. Just good old fashion bragging rights are on the line, which suits the outspoken prospect just fine.
“I’m looking forward to November 5 being the first step in my career,” Quillin excitedly exclaimed during a conference call on Monday.” I’ve never taken anyone lightly. I respect any fighter that I step in the ring with and Craig is that next step for me. Craig is going to look at me, I’m going to look at him, and we’re going to put it all on the line.”
All you need to know about Quillin’s aspirations for greatness can be found by looking no further than his “Kid Chocolate” nickname, which was chosen in honor of his Cuban heritage. More specifically, he pays respect to the late legendary fighter of the same moniker from the 1930’s, the first Cuban to win a world title.
Quillin is still a long way off from title consideration, though it’s exactly why he chose to step up and accept assignment against McEwan. Born in Grand Rapids but gaining his prominence on the New York fight circuit, the 28-year old has always aspired for more than what was offered.
In need of a career change, Quillin decided to make like his Brooklyn homeboy Paul Malignaggi and head out west to Los Angeles. The change proved to take immediately, as Quillin has scored four straight knockouts while under the watchful eye of top trainer Freddie Roach.
“I had to step outside of my boundaries and deal with real deal fighters,” Quillin says of the change in scenery. “I look to put myself in uncomfortable situations and challenge myself. My game plan is to fight the best out there. My job is to just be a fighter. I’m going to let my (team) do their job and I’m going to do my part so that I’m ready for any opportunity that comes my way.”
That very mentality has led to this weekend’s appearance on HBO against an opponent who has already danced on such a stage. McEwan is coming off of a heartbreaking 10th round knockout loss to Andy Lee this past March on HBO, though Quillin expects the version that fought the preceding nine rounds to show up on fight night.
“Craig is on his second shot right now, his second time fighting on HBO. I thought he was winning against Andy Lee and I was actually rooting for Craig.”
It goes without saying that he won’t be as much of a McEwan fan once the opening bell rings. At that moment, he’ll be a fighter on a mission to prove that he can handle any situation thrown at him.
“Hard work comes automatically for me. My goal is to be the best. I recognize that I need more names on my record. I’m ready to make that happen.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].