By Thomas Gerbasi
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York - It took New York City's Peter Quillin six knockdowns to finally vanquish Hassan NDam and take the WBO middleweight title in their 12 round war, and even then, the Frenchman never stopped swinging. But in the end, the cleaner and harder shots were landed by Kid Chocolate, who took the unanimous decision via three identical scores of 115-107.
The evenly matched middleweights got right after it to begin their fight, with Quillin landing the harder shots, but NDam getting off enough return fire of his own to keep the challenger honest. The champion was the wider puncher, which gave him some issues with counterattacks in the second as he continued to burn off nervous energy, but a big right hand rattled Quillin late, giving the Frenchman even more confidence.
Opening the third with a quick series of shots, NDam kept pressing, and this brief flurry seemed to wake Quillin up, leading to some compelling exchanges that seemed to set the stage for some even more heated action.
Early in the fourth, that action came, as Quillin sent NDam sprawling into the ropes with a hard left hook. In response, NDam fired back with both hands, but Quillin kept his cool, drilling the champion with a left hook that put him on the seat of his pants with less than a minute gone. NDam rose and went right back at Quillin, only to have his porous defense leave him open for another left hook-induced knockdown. NDam wobbled up, with two more trips to the mat ruled slips, but he was able to make it out of the round.
Seemingly unbothered by what happened in the previous frame, NDam got right back to business in the fifth, even tagging Quillin with a left hook of his own before Kid Chocolate sent a thudding shot right at his head moments later. But there would be no fireworks like there was in the fourth, leading one to wonder whether Quillin had punched himself out or if he was just reloading.
NDam was having a good sixth round before getting dropped again by Quillin in a wild exchange late, and it happened yet again just before the bell, as the challengers more accurate shots were short-circuiting NDam and putting him further behind on the scorecards at the midway point.
Quillin took a bit of a breather in the seventh, letting NDam unload shots on him while he had his back to the ropes, and a more controlled version of the champion fought well in the eighth as well, making this an even more interesting bout heading down the stretch.
NDam opened the ninth with a hard overhand right, and while Quillin took it well, it was a harbinger of things to come, as the champion unloaded several hard shots on the Grand Rapids, Michigan native, making it evident that he was not about to give up his title without a fight.
Getting back down to business in the tenth, Quillin ripped off a series of hard left hooks over the course of the round, only to see NDam finish with a flourish in one of the best rounds of the fight.
The pace took a dip to begin round 11, but in the second half of the round, NDam went on the attack in spurts, adding some much needed points heading into the final stanza. And while fatigue was a factor for both men in the last round, it was NDam continuing to recklessly empty his tank. That recklessness cost him in the final 30 seconds though, as he was sent to the canvas by Quillin two more times, sealing the deal for the crowd favorite in emphatic fashion.
With the win, Quillin improves to 28-0 with 20 KOs; NDam, previously unknown in the United States but unknown no longer, falls to 27-1 with 17 KOs.