While most of the top middleweights in the world ply their trade over at HBO, Peter Quillin is taking care of business across the street at Showtime.
On Saturday, Quillin (30-0, 22 knockouts), will be looking to make the third defense of his WBO middleweight title when he meets hardnosed Czech fighter Lukas Konecny.
The tall rangy puncher of Cuban descent has been training at home in Brooklyn with the birth of his child imminent. That said “Kid Chocolate” knows what to expect from the two-time junior middleweight title challenger and former European champ.
“He brings good pressure, solid in his shell, and comes out swinging,” Quillin told RingTV.com. “I won’t know what his weaknesses are until we step into the ring.”
While few American fans have heard of Konecny, who has fought exclusively in Europe, Quillin was quick to defend his opponent’s credentials.
“This guy is very durable and experienced with 50-something fights,” he said. “I’m interested to see how I’ll do against a fighter who has never been stopped. He’s coming to try and take my belt.”
Along with Quillin-Konecny, the Showtime event billed as “History at the Capitol” from the DC Armory in Washington, DC, is headlined by the Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov IBF/WBA light heavyweight title unification bout, and supported by an IBF 147-pound title bout between beltholder Shawn Porter and wily veteran Paulie Malignaggi.
Here’s what Quillin had to say about his upcoming bout, fighting on Showtime, and several of his rivals.
Anson Wainwright – On Saturday, you’ll be sharing a ring with Lukas Konecny. What are your thoughts on that fight?
Peter Quillin – This guy is very durable and experienced with 50-something fights. I’m interested to see how I’ll do against a fighter who has never been stopped. He’s coming to try and take my belt.
AW – When you break Konecny down, what do you see in terms of his strengths and weaknesses?
PQ – He brings good pressure, solid in his shell, and comes out swinging. I won’t know what his weaknesses are until we step into the ring. Sometimes when you see something, you really don’t see until you fight a guy. You can’t really know about power until you’ve been hit. Maybe he won’t pressure after he feels my power. I won’t know until we fight. I’ll have to make him look weak.
AW – Konecny is very aggressive and comes forward, he has a style that suggests he could be made to order for you?
PQ – The only thing made to order is when you’re ordering take-out food. You really don’t know about a guy until you step into the ring to fight. I give him credit and respect. We’re both going to do what we have to do and that’s the beauty of boxing.
AW – With the greatest respect to Konecny, he's not the fight many fight fans had hoped for. While fights with the likes of Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin are off the table because they're over at HBO, fights with guys like Daniel Jacobs and Curtis Stevens would be pretty big in New York City. Were they looked at for this fight, are they fights that could happen or are there stumbling blocks preventing them?
PQ – Anything is possible. I’ve never said I wouldn’t fight Danny Jacobs or Curtis Stevens. I’ve never been a matchmaker and it’s too late now. My job is to stay ready to fight. I take no prisoners. If there’s food on the table, I’m going to get there first to eat it. The only thing I’m worried about is securing my legacy and providing for my family so my child will have a lot more than I ever had growing up.
AW – In your last fight you stopped Gabe Rosado. He's a tough, game kind of guy. Can you tell us about the fight from your point of view and also what you made of your performance?
PQ – That was a tough fight. Gabriel was game like he’s been in other fights. He had his moments against Golovkin, too. He kept coming but I kept throwing my jab and moving my feet. I was happy I dropped him in the second round, my 14th knockdown in my last four fights. I cut his eye with a jab and capitalized on it. I worked on his eye, aiming at the cut it with bad intentions.
AW – How frustrating do you find it that many of the top middleweight's are aligned with HBO while you seem to the only top-level 160 pounder at Showtime?
PQ – Hey, I’m the top middleweight fighting on Showtime, which is more credible than the guys over there fighting on the other network. It’s not frustrating at all. I have the most powerful team in boxing. None of those guys have Al Haymon. So, I can be the best I can be, and let my team take care of business. I have a strong fan-base and I pull other fighters’ fans when I fight. I’m the only American middleweight champion. Others like Golovkin and Martinez have come to America to fight. I would think it’s important for them to defeat the champion from American.
AW – Can you tell us about your training camp for this fight?
PQ – I’m training for this fight in New York City. Some feel that there are a lot of distractions because I live in Brooklyn. I won’t allow that. I’m 100-percent self-motivated and won’t allow distractions during camp.
My wife is pregnant and this was a family decision. She had a miscarriage when I was in California training for my last fight. She felt that I abandoned her. She understands more about my career. This was a tough decision to train here. (My trainer) Eric (Brown) is splitting camp here in New York City between me and Paulie (Malignaggi). I know a lot of people in California and there could have been distractions there if I had allowed it.
AW – If we look at the middleweight ratings that we have at THE RING, what are your thoughts on each fighter…
C – Sergio Martinez – A unique fighter. He started late and became a dominant champion. I think highly of him.
1 – Gennady Golovkin – I sparred him. He’s durable, strong and believes in himself, which makes for good fights.
2 – Felix Sturm – I don’t know too much about him because he stays in Germany.
3 – Daniel Geale – He should have fought me in a unification, fighting an American in America, instead of losing on American soil to a non-American.
4 – Peter Quillin – Very personable. He lives a boxer’s life. He is one of the best middleweights out there today.
5 – Matthew Macklin – He’s calling me out but where was he two years ago when I called him out? It doesn’t make as much sense right now. I respect him. We’ve sparred a lot of rounds and he knows how good I am. Maybe we can make this fight when it makes more sense. I’ll leave that up to my people.
6 – Martin Murray – A very good fighter but I’d like to see him fight more. I agreed to fight him in England but I’m not sure what happened.
7 – Marco Antonio Rubio – A good fighter and smart to keep himself in the mix. There’s been talk about us fighting and I look forward to seeing him fight again.
8 – Curtis Stevens – We represent Brooklyn and we have nothing but love for each other….until we meet in the squared circle. I don’t have anything bad to say about him, but being from the same borough doesn’t mean I don’t want to fight him.
9 – Hassan N'dam N'Jikam – I see he’s making a comeback. I hope he gets a big fight soon.
10 – Billy Joe Saunders – I really don’t know anything about him.
AW – This summer, Sergio Martinez fights Miguel Cotto. Who do you think wins?
PQ – I have to go with Martinez but if Cotto is committed to being a middleweight champ, he can win. I’ll be watching this closely because I want to fight the winner. I hope its Cotto because I think it would be easier to make a fight with me because Martinez is with the other network.
AW – Do you make 160 pounds easily enough or do you see a move up to 168 pounds coming soon?
PQ – I’m dedicated to making 160. After I get a few more title defenses, maybe then I’ll move up but only when I’m ready.
AW – Away from boxing tell us about your hobbies and interests?
PQ – I have two dogs but donated a lot of my animals to schools and gave my cat to my aunt because it didn’t get along with my dogs. I like to read to become more knowledgeable. I enjoy public speaking to kids, DJing and music, and modeling.
AW – What would you say to the middleweight division?
PQ – Keep your head up, chin down, and hands up at all times. I’d like to fight the top guys in my division.