When you listen to Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, the hunger of a fighter focused on future achievement and stardom is evident. A pro for seven years and having made his name by fighting (and winning) the bulk of his fights in New York City, Quillin began his gradual climb to mainstream recognition with wins in the last 12 months over Craig McEwan (a 6th round TKO in his HBO debut) and re-retiring Winky Wright with a lopsided unanimous decision win on Showtime this past June.
Quillin returns to NYC this Saturday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center when he challenges for the WBO middleweight title against Hassan N’Dam N”Jikam (27-0, 17 KOs), an undefeated Frenchman who just captured the strap in his last bout. When the middleweight landscape is discussed, Quillin’s name is readily dismissed with adjectives like “protected,” “unproven” and even “overrated. Read how Quillin plans to eradicate those labels
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You just had the biggest name win of your career beating Winky Wright over the summer. But with Wright being inactive and old, did you really learn anything in the ring that can help you going into Saturday again N’Jikam?
Quillin: I’m always focused on making the improvements needed to become a legendary fighter. I’ve been working on my defense, my offense and my movement. I’m focused on working the strategy Eric Brown came up with for this fight. And of course, avoiding the distractions to be able to handle the business the way it’s supposed to be.
Fighters fight with their personality, and mine is a hunger and desire to be the best. The mentality with the Winky fight was looking at him as someone who was trying to deter where I wanted to be at. With N”Jikam, this is me fighting for a strap which will lead to everyone wanting to do something with me. I put everything on hold for training and I know the opportunities will come knocking.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: People seem to be split between whether you’re on the cusp of becoming a star or need a few more significant fights. How do you view your marketability going into this fight?
Quillin: Well, it’s up to the fans to decide that and my promotional company. I know I’m willing to do whatever’s necessary on the boxing end to make that happen. I don’t get deterred by what people say. I know I have to prove things to myself before anyone.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: With fighters today, being undefeated makes you more appealing to casual fans, but it’s a mark to others that you haven’t been tested. What’s been your most difficult test so far?
Quillin: For me it’s the distractions that boxing has to offer. There are people that always want to be around fighters. Everybody wants a piece of you financially, emotionally and physically. People don’t understand the life of a fighter is dedication and staying focused. That’s what’s gotten me here.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: At this time, where do you fit in the middleweight division? Obviously a win Saturday gives you the WBO belt. Are you ready for the elite?
Quillin: There’s a lot of good names out there; Sergio Martinez is the cash cow of division. Gennady Golovkin is making noise and is probably the most avoided fighter in the division.You got Dmitry Pirog who’s coming back from injury I hope. You got Matthew Macklin, who I just heard the IBF appoved Anthony Mundine to fight him.
For the most part you have a bunch of great names and I’m fortunate enough to have Al Haymon working with me as an advisor and Golden Boy as my promoter. I’m just trying to take the business to another level so I focus on whatever they come up for me. I’m ready for all those names because I have trust in my people. I’m right on point.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Al Haymon has a lot of influence on the sport and is definitely a powerful ally for any boxer. What would you say in the most important you’ve learned from him?
Quillin: With Al I don’t have to worry about if the opportunities will come. I know Al will bring the paydays and the fights that I need, want and deserve. I do this as a career. With that being said, I have to maximize my money in this profession.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Thanks Peter and best of the luck this Saturday.
Quillin: Thank you and I will be the next WBO middleweight champion of the world! I’m very blessed to be fighting in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. I thank God every day and don’t question God’s will or his reasons. I just know he gave me this position amongst the people to inspire and maybe get them closer to God themselves.
World championship boxing returns to Brooklyn with an inaugural night of fights at the new Barclays Center on October 20 headlined by Unified Super Lightweight World Champion Danny “Swift” Garcia against future Hall of Famer Erik “El Terrible” Morales presented by Golden Boy Promotions and supported by Golden Boy Promotions sponsors Corona, DeWalt Tools and AT&T. In the co-featured attractions, Brooklyn’s own Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi puts his WBA Welterweight World Championship on the line against hard-hitting Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano, undefeated number one rated WBO middleweight contender Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin of Manhattan takes on unbeaten Hassan N’Dam for N’Dam’s WBO Middleweight World Championship and Devon Alexander “The Great” faces Randall Bailey for Bailey’s IBF Welterweight World Championship in a bout presented in association with DiBella Entertainment. The SHOWTIME® CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins live at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). Preliminary fights will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
The undercard is loaded with many of New York’s top fighters, including Brooklyn’s hot middleweight prospect Daniel “The Golden Child” Jacobs, former World Champion Luis Collazo, the Bronx’s rising star Eddie Gomez, former world title contender Dmitriy Salita and Brooklyn prospect Boyd Melson.
Tickets pricedat $300, $200, $100 and $50 are available for purchase at www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 800-745-3000.