Sheer anticipation: Quigley and Mijares await May 7
There’s always a cache of talent that lurks in the depths of an undercard of a big fight. Often overlooked, and likely unseen to those outside the arena, the un-televised portion of an undercard shows the future players in the fight game develop before they get their opportunity to present their skills on a big stage.
That will hold true for a few prospects on the May 7 undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan but for middleweight Jason Quigley (10-0, 9 knockouts), there’s a small caveat that makes the anticipation to his fight that much greater.
“To be honest, every fight has the same meaning to me because I prepare and get ready for every fight as if it’s a world title fight. Every fight that I get into gets me one step closer to what I want to achieve, and that’s to become world champion,” Quigley told RingTV.com in his charming Irish accent at a media workout held at the City of Angels Gym in Los Angeles, 12 days before his fight.
The reality of the situation is Quigley, along with featherweight prospect Diego De La Hoya, has been selected to sway a buyer’s decision when contemplating whether or not to purchase the HBO pay-per-view. Their fights are part of an aptly named a “Free-view,” and Quigley’s fight with James De La Rosa is not only his biggest test to date but it can conceivably have the most viewers.
“De La Rosa is definitely a step up on paper and everything like that but, at the end of the day, he’s the same as every other opponent that as gone through the ropes against me,” Quigley said. “He’s another obstacle, another hurdle that I have to jump over on my path to become a world champion. I’m ready for action; I’m ready for anybody and I’m ready to shine come May 7th.”
Thanks to David Lemieux missing weight last March, De La Rosa (23-3, 13 KOs) had to wait two extra months for his comeback fight. In Dec. 2014, he was brutally knocked out by Hugo Centeno Jr. but that fight came on the heels of an upset win over Alfredo Angulo three months prior. “He’s definitely gonna have a lot of doubts in his head,” said Quigley, “He’s getting in with a knockout artist like myself and he’s definitely going to have the doubts in his head and them doubts are gonna become more inevitable whenever I start landing shots on him.” Quigley conceded to the notion that De La Rosa may be a fighter with nothing to lose but added, “This is his chance to kind of come back onto the scene and it’s my chance to blow onto the scene as well. So the two of us have a lot to win in this fight and we don’t have a lot to lose. We’re both hungry fighters and I’m sure he’s prepared the best he’s can.”
Quigley, Donegal, Ireland, now lives and trains out of Los Angeles but there’s a large contingent of fans back home awaiting his fight that will prelude a BoxNation PPV in Europe.
“It was massive. It was unbelievable,” said Quigley about the reaction of his fight back home. “There’s a lot of people traveling out already for this fight. The excitement has built and the Irish fans are unbelievable. The support that I have is unbelievable. I’m a pro out here in America and it’s not the East Coast; it’s the West Coast. That’s twice as far from the East Coast of Ireland. There’ve been people traveling to my fights already out here in the West Coast, so now, the following is getting even bigger and the excitement is growing and, for me, it’s all about putting on a show for them and making their trip worth while.”
With that in mind, the 24-year-old realizes why he’s been slated to conjure up the interest of a potential PPV buyer. It’s no mistake that with his 90% knockout rate, there are expectations to win in thrilling fashion but he doesn’t let that get to his head.
“As I’ve said, I get in there and my number one goal, as soon as I step through the ropes, is to perform the best I can. Once I get in there and perform, I know no middleweight in the world is going to have an easy night against me. I train 110% the best I can. I’m 110% focused. It’s time to rock-and-roll and if the knockout comes, the knockout comes. I know I have the power to knock guys out but it’s all about landing that shot. I’ve never looked for a knockout. I’ve always sensed when I’ve hurt an opponent and I know when to take them out but I’ve never looked for a knockout. For me, it’s just getting in there and taking care of business and I know the knockout can come.”
As for Canelo-Khan, Quigley seemed just as excited to talk about the main event and also gave his prediction for the fight. “I definitely think that Khan is going to give Canelo problems he’s never seen before with the hand speed. It’s a matter of ‘Can Khan keep him off?’ because he’s never been hit by anyone as hard as Canelo hits. He’s never been hit by a full middleweight either and he’s not stepping up against a boxer; he’s stepping up with a heavy puncher. My prediction is the first half of the fight is gonna go Khan’s way but I think Canelo is going to break him down and have a late stoppage.”
Just like Quigley did two years ago, David “Junebug” Mijares will make his professional debut on a Canelo Alvarez PPV undercard. Adding to the significance of his first fight, the 20-year old will make Las Vegas history, as he will be part of the first card to ever take place in the brand new T-Mobile Arena. The two are also signed to Sheer Sports Management, a Santa Monica-based management company. He also spoke with RingTV.com at the media workout.
“I fight because it’s something I’ve always done. I grew up in a gym, my father’s gym, and I’ve just always been around boxing,” said Mijares on the inquiry of why he fights. “There’s one time where I saw my dad training these hockey players and I saw this guy knock down a bag. It was a water bag and I was astonished by it and was, like, I want to do that. I’ve never got the heavy bag down like that but it was a real inspiration.”
Mijares grew up in Pasadena, California, but often found himself spending most of his time in Santa Monica. There, his father and coach David Paul, ran a gym owned by the famous songwriter Bob Dylan. As early as five years old, Mijares was punching bags with Hollywood luminaries and sports stars his father trained, and as RingTV.com’s own Doug Fischer revealed in his profile of the prospect, he was almost literally born in the gym. He began participating in amateur tournaments at around 12 years old and signed with Golden Boy Promotions earlier this month after his attempt to make the US Olympic team fell short.
“It’s a classic boxing style. Power and speed. I do like to walk down my opponents. I really like body punches,” said Mijares, when asked to give a description of his fighting style. The southpaw will be fighting at 130 pounds on May 7 but hopes to grow into and take over the lightweight division, when it’s all said and done. Yet, he fought well past that weight in the amateurs, so his ceiling is higher than he leads on. As his life-changing moment is on the horizon, Mijares reflects back to the moment he realized he wanted to fight for a living. “I had a dream one night,” admitted Mijares. “I think it was after (Oscar) De La Hoya fought against (Floyd) Mayweather (Jr.) actually, that’s when I had that first dream where I pictured myself in there with my hands raised. It was a really vivid dream and I was super-young, so it was kind of weird for me but it stuck.”
After all the engaging interviews Mijares gave the media, the fresh-faced kid posed for a group photo with all the other fighters who took part in the media workout. Along with Quigley, Glen Tapia, Frankie Gomez and Mauricio Herrera, Mijares was all smiles as his first media workout concluded. When asked how that felt sharing the ring with established professionals, Mijares fumbled his words before describing it with only one, “Speechless.”