By Francisco Salazar
Success could cause athletes to go in two directions in life. One path is to continue to work hard at their craft, sacrifice more, and set higher goals than expected.
The other path is to not work as hard, be content with what has been accomplished, and to give in to temptations not related to their craft.
Of the two, Peter Quillin chooses the former hands down. Actually, if you ask him, he chooses “animal status,” a self-described psyche that he attributes to him maintaining his unbeaten status and becoming a world title holder.
Quillin will make the first defense of his world title belt this Saturday against Fernando Guerrero at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
The bout will precede the Danny Garcia-Zab Judah junior welterweight unification bout. Both bouts will be televised on Showtime beginning at 9PM ET/ 6PM PT.
Quillin will return to the same venue where he won the world title belt from Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam on October 20th. The fight saw Quillin drop N’Jikam six times during the course of the action-filled bout.
As Quillin has become a major player in a talented middleweight division, the success and fame he has earned from boxing has become greater and greater. While the eccentric and sometimes-outspoken Quillin enjoys the limelight, he understands that it comes with the territory being the center of attention.
“I know it is much tougher to be a champion and there are more distractions,” Quillin told Boxingscene.com in a recent interview. “Everyone wants to be around a world champion. I don’t let it affect me because I know I have to take it up a notch. I have to work harder to keep my title.”
Quillin (28-0, 20 KOs) will face Fernando Guerrero, who has won his last four bouts in a row since a shocking knockout loss at the hands of Grady Brewer in June of 2011. Once considered a top prospect before the Brewer loss, Quillin understands Guerrero will attempt to make a name for himself at his expense.
“I’m not going to take anything for granted because we used to know about one another on the way up.” said Quillin, who is of Cuban descent and resides in the Los Angeles area. “As far as I’m concerned with him, he’s making the biggest mistake thinking he can beat me. I’m training to dominate him on April 27th.”
“I laugh because he says that he is fighting for the people on April 27th. Shouldn’t you not do it for yourself in the first place?”
As a contender or a world title holder, Quillin has established himself as one of the best fighters at 160 pounds. Mention top 10 or even top five in the division and Quillin’s name is mentioned. However, not everyone shares in that analogy.
Quillin was irked by comments made earlier this month by Sampson Lewkowicz, who advises linear middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. Lewkowicz allegedly made comments about “not knowing who Quillin is” when discussing possible opponents for Martinez.
One has to wonder if the comments by Lewkowicz were a jab at Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Quillin. The two have had a falling out and have spoken out negatively against each other through the press.
Whatever way Lewkowicz meant by those words, Quillin is not about to let them affect him in any way.
“I guess he hasn’t seen me in Sports Illustrated or Playboy magazines. Or advertisements for Corona beer. All I know is that I’m the best American middleweight. I have a lot of respect for my job and I give myself the motivation to be the best. I just put my best foot forward.”
Although Quillin has carved out a lucrative and successful path for himself so far, he does his best to remain humble. The humbleness could be from his upbringing, beginning in Chicago, then to Grand Rapids, MI, and finally in New York City.
Quillin always states on how the streets humbles and educated him to be a better athlete, but especially a better person. Perhaps that is why Quillin has joined the fight against collateral cancer and is a proponent of “Kids Promoting Kids.”
“I like reaching out to kids and to get them to realize that you could be anything in life. I could relate to them because I don’t forget where I come from and I’m blessed that they could look up to me. In life, you fail, but the best effort that you can give is all that counts.”
One could say Quillin is a success story, with or without a world title belt. He took the right paths during very important and critical moments in his life and made the most of them.
While the debates and discussions remain as to whom he fights after the Guerrero fight, he will still remain relevant in the middleweight picture.
Then again, as long as Quillin chooses the right paths in life and boxing, he will be just fine.