By Ryan Maquiñana
Middleweight prospect Peter Quillin returned stateside Sunday evening after his HBO debut the night before concluded with a sixth-round stoppage of Craig McEwan in Cancun.
Minutes after departing the plane in Los Angeles, Quillin’s number one fan warmly embraced him with pride at baggage claim—his mother.
“This is the first time my mom’s been able to come here,” Quillin (26-0, 20 KOs) said. “We talk a lot, but I haven’t been able to go back to Michigan to see her too much.”
Between picking up his luggage and heading home to Studio City, “Kid Chocolate” spoke with BoxingScene about his momentous victory and the aftermath of having secured a stoppage victory in his first appearance on premium cable.
ON MATCHING UP WITH McEWAN:
“I said going in that I thought he was going to make me have to work hard to get the win, and he did. When I sparred him though back when we were both at Wild Card [Boxing Club in Hollywood], I didn’t remember really sparring with him. I never really felt like he was trying to pressure me then. All I could remember was feeling in control, and that he was a southpaw.
“But for this fight, he was going super hard, and I was just trying to make sure he didn’t get to do things he wanted to, like go to the body cleanly. I can remember all the shots he hit me with. I think I could be more aggressive, throw more punches, and go forward, which is what my corner wanted me to do. Not just ones and twos, where I was a little mechanical. But I showed I could be an accurate puncher, too.”
ON POSSIBLE PREFIGHT JITTERS GIVEN THE MAGNITUDE OF THE FIGHT:
“I’m not going to say I wasn’t nervous. I was. I’m not on HBO with Craig McEwan for nothing. There’s a reason behind that, so I really had to find out for myself what I wanted to get out of that situation. I could be who I am, you know, get people to like me just for the way I fight, but I want to make sure I'm still doing the right things, too, and I’m always looking to improve in the ring with every performance. That’s how I look at it. I’m always critical of myself.”
ON HIS LEFT HOOK, WHICH IS THROWN FROM AN UNCONVENTIONAL ANGLE:
“It’s almost like a check hook, that I can use to work on top of a jab.”
ON WHETHER THE STOPPAGE WAS A BIT PREMATURE:
“How would my fight get stopped early, and the main event stopped so late? Weird night.”
ON THE CAPTIVATING MAIN EVENT BETWEEN JAMES KIRKLAND AND ALFREDO ANGULO THAT FOLLOWED HIS FIGHT:
“I was watching James, and he was focused, man. Real focused. That was a real special fight, and I was glad to be part of a card that big.”
ON TALKS OF HIS NEXT OPPONENT:
“Nothing yet. They got some opportunities out there, but I don’t want to talk about those until it’s time. [Trainer] Eric [Brown], [trainer] Freddie [Roach], my manager, my team, we’ll talk each and every one of those over. Like I said, I’m hard on myself, and people who saw my performance last night probably wouldn’t want to see me in with Sergio Martinez yet, so I still need to build my name more with some fights. But when the time comes, I’ll be ready.”
ON SPENDING TIME WITH HIS FAMILY BETWEEN FIGHTS, NAMELY HIS MOTHER:
“I just got in, and I’m chillin’ with my mom and telling her how it went. She can’t even watch the fights. It’s nerve-wracking and she can’t control her blood pressure. We’re going to get some dinner and then tomorrow I’m going to show her around L.A.
“She’s very proud. People don’t even know where I come from. Accomplishing something like this with everything we went through, and being able to share it back with my family is the best thing you can do. All my family wants to do is support, and they push me. Nobody knows you like family do. I have my dad close to me here in L.A. This is the first time my mom’s been able to come here, and we talk a lot, but I haven’t been able to go back to Michigan to see her too much.
“It’s tough when you stay focused as a fighter. I’m solo all the time. I moved to New York by myself. I moved to L.A. by myself. It does take a toll on you being away from family for so long, but it’s great to spend some time with them when you can.”
ON STAYING IN SHAPE BETWEEN FIGHTS:
“When I have a fight, I set myself aside for an eight-week training camp, which means having to stay dedicated to the same schedule. I spar three days a week. I got conditioning training Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then I run on specific days.
“Now that the fight’s done, I just stay in shape by taking a run now and then. My weight never gets past 172 pounds. I don’t drink much. I watch what I eat. I keep my lifestyle like that so I feel young.”
ON ANY GENERAL REFLECTIONS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS VICTORY:
“I’m very blessed to have that opportunity to go to Cancun, Mexico. I want to thank Golden Boy, HBO, and all the fans for a great show last night. Of course, I’m thankful for everyone who’s been supporting me from day one. I always want to improve every time I fight, and I’m just getting started.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected]l.com, check out his blog at www.maqdown.com or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.