Boxing fans will get another look at "Kid Chocolate," Peter Quillin, (28-0, 20 KO) on Saturday night when he defends his WBO middleweight title for the first time against Dominican-American southpaw Fernando Guerrero (25-1, 19 KO).
The jury is still out whether Quillin is a legitimate threat to the lineal title at 160 pounds.
Not many experts would consider him on the same level as Sergio Martinez or Gennady Golovkin, but nevertheless, he holds one of the prominent championships in the weight class.
To his credit, he generally puts on an exciting show.
As part of the undercard on the Zab Judah-Danny Garcia lightweight championship bout, Quillin will attempt to entertain the Brooklyn crowd at the Barclays Center before the featured attraction.
This fight was supposed to happen in February, but it was postponed because the bout is married to the Garcia-Judah clash and Garcia was injured. Therefore, a postponement of the main event also delayed Quillin-Guerrero.
All are healthy and finally ready to get it on. Here's how you can watch the night of fights.
When: Saturday, April 27, 9 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y
Stream: Replay on Showtime Anytime
Highlights of the Hype
Quillin Tells Guerrero He Will Not Beat Him
The conference call between the two camps started innocently enough, but ultimately competitive spirits produced the trash talk that makes the hype process intriguing.
After Guerrero interrupted Quillin while the son of former Cuban fighter Pedro Quillin was speaking about his heritage, Quillin cut straight to the chase.
Per Michael Woods of ESPN, he told Guerrero:
You will not beat me April 27th. The only thing you're going to know how to do is run back in that hole like you did with Grady Brewer. You know how to lose.
It was a transparent dig at the only blemish on Guerrero's professional record, a fourth-round TKO loss in June 2011.
There is a mutual respect between the two fighters, but ultimately, this and most other fights come down to one man standing in the other's way.
In these two interviews from media day, the fighters weren't quite as charged. Quillin's is complimentary of Guerrero and his camp, but he also mentions the lack of respect he gets as a middleweight.
He calls out all three recognized champions at 160 pounds: Martinez, Golovkin and Daniel Geale.
Guerreo is equally as respectful to Quillin here. He addresses how grateful he is for the opportunity and attributes the loss to Brewer to trying to move between weight classes (154 and 160).
The Book on Quillin
The Lesser of Four Champions?
In the video above, Kid Chocolate asks Ring Digital if Sergio Martinez's opponent on Saturday, Martin Murray, is more known than him.
He mentions someone in the media saying they had never heard of him (Quillin) as the reason for the inquiry.
This question is indicative of Quillin's current quest for validation in the sport. It is a healthy approach to pursue greatness, but he has a ways to go before he attains the respect he craves.
Though he won his title in a thrilling fight against Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam in October 2012, he had a few shaky moments.
He was dominating the fight early, but what looked like a lapse in concentration opened the door for the very game and tough N'Jikam.
He did drop the Cameroonian-Frenchman six times in the fight, though. Those knockdowns made the judges' scorecards more lopsided than they should have been. All three judges had it 115-107, but N'Jikam really pushed Quillin.
He won a good number of rounds in my eyes. Here is the thrilling 12th round:
Aside from this fight, the only wins of note on Quillin's resume are victories over washed-up veterans Winky Wright and Antwun Echols.
The talent and charisma are there for the man that looks like a cross between Chris Tucker and Pernell Whitaker, but he needs big wins to put him in the same category as Geale, Martinez and Golovkin.
In the Ring
Quillin is tall (5'11") and he has good power. You could see that with the left hook that dropped N'Jikam in the 12th round and throughout their fight.
A 71 percent KO percentage is nothing to dismiss.
Quillin also possesses good hand speed, but I worry about his feet a bit. He doesn't always fight with great balance.
In the fight with N'Jikam, he also seemed to tire at points. It could be attributed to trying to get a very tough opponent out of there, but he definitely looked gassed multiple times.
In the end, he rose to the occasion for the win.
Against Guerrero, his size and 73" reach will be key weapons for him. He needs to establish a jab as pacesetter and as a means to maintain distance.
Keeping good balance will also be big for him. His opponent has power and he fires from all angles. Quillin can't afford to have defensive lapses in this fight. If he does, he could find himself in trouble.
The Book on Guerrero
From the Dominican Republic to Salisbury to All over the World
The 26-year-old was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Salisbury, Md., but per the media day video above, Guerrero is ready to become worldwide.
He knows boxing opportunities will give him the best chance to accomplish this goal. Much of that begins with his opportunity to dethrone Quillin.
On the aforementioned conference call, Woods quotes Guerrero as followed:
From my hometown, there's only one person that came out of there and did something, that was the girl from 'Terminator, [referencing Linda Hamilton]. The Dominican Republic is a small country] and we're coming up.
Back in the day people didn't understand when I tried to tell them the only person that I had to look up to was Sammy Sosa. But they're like, 'Oh, he's not from boxing.' I was like, yeah, but that's my idol. I want to be the Sammy Sosa of boxing.
Sosa and Hamilton have to be the most diverse set of role models a person can have, but Guerrero's background is not exactly traditional.
Both communities he has allegiance to are small in the scope by which they would be compared, but it is clear Guerrero is dreaming big. He said in his media day interview that he wants to travel the world.
Winning the WBO title would be his ticket to flying first class.
In the Ring
At 5'9", Guerrero is a stoutly-built middleweight. In his last fight, he stopped Juan Carlos Candelo in the sixth round. It was his fourth win in a row since he was stopped by Brewer.
Though Quillin is the champion, it could be argued that Guerrero has faced the tougher opponents.
He owns wins over current IBF light middleweight champion Ishe Smith and middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado. Here he is in action against Rosado.
Notice how well he works on the inside.
Guerrero can really bang to the body and head. He does stand flat-footed a little too much, so Quillin's movement could be an issue.
However, Guerrero's punching accuracy on the interior could give the champion issues.
The biggest challenge for Guerrero in this fight will be closing the distance. At the same time, he must be careful not to run into any of Kid Chocolate's power shots.
I have a feeling this is going to be a great fight. Quillin is an action fighter always looking to impress. Guerrero's come-forward style lends itself well to that dynamic.
Guerrero will land some significant shots in this fight, but overall Quillin's length and speed will be the deciding factor.
Both fighters may hit the canvas at some point in this fight, but Quillin will win a decision by a razor-thin margin.
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