By Jake Donovan
Three of the best middleweights in the world – Sergio Martinez, Matthew Macklin and Andy Lee – took center stage for Wednesday’s press conference in New York City to promote their March 17 HBO-televised show at The Theatre in Madison Square Garden.
Martinez defends his lineal middleweight championship against Macklin, while Lee remains without an opponent with just over 10 weeks to go before fight night.
One potential candidate wasn’t hard to find. He’s a rising star on the cusp of title contention, and lives in New York City. On this particular day, he was actually on hand in attendance for Wednesday’s presser to officially announce the St. Patrick’s Day card.
Two months after drawing rave reviews for his one-sided six-round drubbing of Craig McEwan, unbeaten prospect Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin sat in attendance, just to see – from a fan’s point of view – what else was being repeated at the dais.
“From what I heard, rumors are circulating that we turned down the fight (with Lee),” Quillin speculated of his name wrongfully being dragged through the mud. “I wanted to make sure my name was cleared (of rejecting such a fight). My going to the press conference was showing that I’m here. The two sides are talking; let’s hope something can be made.”
The part that caught Quillin’s eye (and more specifically his ear) was the part where the NYC-raised middleweight was sold as having turned down such a fight.
Qullin refuses this to be true, primarily for the fact that he’s never in his career rejected any fight and wouldn’t dare begin with an HBO showcase that would put him one step closer towards his dream.
“(Promoter Lou DiBella) has three of the top middleweights to give a shot. He’s giving this one for the storyline he can sell, giving Matthew Macklin a second chance after what happened with Felix Sturm.
“Andy Lee is a guy that wants a shot. But why not have us fight? You can sell the fight on our performances against Craig McEwan. The plan could be that the winner could fight Sergio.”
Quillin, who trains with Freddie Roach at the famed Wild Card Gym, made his HBO debut last November with his 6th round stoppage of McEwan. Lee had his own success against the same opponent nearly eight months prior, scoring a stoppage in the 10th and final round of a dead-even fight that served as the co-feature to Martinez’ one-sided stoppage of Sergei Dzinziruk.
Undefeated, hitting his stride and also locally based, Quillin can’t think of any reasons – on the surface – of why he can’t land the March assignment.
“Andy wants Martinez. I want Martinez. You have the Freddie (Roach) versus Manny (Steward, who trains Lee). You have a New York fighter who trains on the West Coast, fighting an Irish fighter w/ following in NYC. It would be a strong main event on its own.
“As a co-feature to the world middleweight championship, it would be even stronger. The card can be billed as a future showdown between the winners. I understand that it’s a business, but don’t take away from what’s good for the sport.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com