Middleweight

Peter Quillin vs. Lukas Konecny: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

Briggs SeekinsFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2014

Peter Quillin vs. Lukas Konecny: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

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    Jason DeCrow

    On Saturday night in Washington, D.C., undefeated WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin returns to action against well-traveled Lukas Konecny of the Czech Republic. Since claiming the title in October 2012, Quillin has won two defenses by stoppage.

    Konecny is an unfamiliar name to most North American fans, but he's a former world title challenger at light middleweight. He's fought in most of the major boxing countries in Europe, including Germany, Poland, Russia and the United Kingdom, but this will be his first time competing in the United States.

    Like any boxing fan, I can think of several opponents that I'd rather see Quillin face. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see the titleholder return to action.

Tale of the Tape

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    Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
    Per Boxrec      Peter Quillin      Lukas Konecny 
    Record     30-0, 22 KOs     50-4, 23 KOs 
    Height     5'11"      5'8"
    Reach     73"      70" 
    Weight     160 lbs      160 lbs 
    Age     30      35 
    Stance     Orthodox     Orthodox 
    Hometown     Brooklyn, New York      Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic 
    Rounds     136      360

    Peter Quillin is relatively big for a middleweight, and he's much bigger than Lukas Konecny, who has spent almost his entire career at light middleweight. The champ is the far more powerful puncher as well, with just one less knockout in 24 fewer fights.

    He has become a popular star in his adopted home city of Brooklyn and fought his past three fights in the newly opened Barclays Center. Boxrec ranks Konecny as the Czech Republic's top pound-for-pound fighter.

Main Storylines

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    USA TODAY Sports

    In October 2012, Peter Quillin captured the WBO middleweight title with an exciting unanimous-decision victory over Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam. He knocked N'Jikam down six times during the fight.

    Since that night, he has won two defenses by TKO over Fernando Guerrero and Gabriel Rosado. At a perfect 30-0 with 22 KOs, "Kid Chocolate" has the potential to be a breakout star. But he's going to have to beat some better opponents first.

    Unfortunately, Lukas Konecny isn't the type of opponent who will rally a growing fanbase. He has had a very respectable career fighting at light middleweight in Europe and even challenged for the WBO world title in 2008, losing a majority decision to Serhiy Dzinziruk.

    Konecny's only loss since came in October 2012, when Zaurbek Baysangurov dominated him at 154 pounds by a near shutout on the cards. Since then Konecny has beaten a couple of obscure opponents at 160 pounds to secure the WBO European middleweight title.

    He's hardly the least-qualified title challenger I've ever seen in a WBO title fight, but he's not an opponent who will get fans excited about Quillin, either.   

Strengths

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Peter Quillin is an excellent athlete with explosive punching power. He is a large middleweight and uses his length and frame to impose himself on opponents and his athleticism to beat them to the punch consistently.

    He is a well-conditioned fighter. His knockout percentage is high, but he's fought well in later rounds when it has been necessary.

    Lukas Konecny is an excellent body puncher. He has decent power and is good at covering up to block punches and then slipping or lowering levels as he moves inside. 

    He pivots well on his front foot and throws a very good hook to the body/uppercut to the head combination. 

Weaknesses

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Peter Quillin moves into range aggressively, which often puts him in a position where opponents can scored on him. His defense is not as strong as his offense.

    Even though he knocked down Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam six times, I had the fight surprisingly close. I also had him fighting dead even with light middleweight journeyman Gabriel Rosado when Quillin won that fight by stoppage due to cuts.

    Lukas Konecny has a bad habit of lowering his head and looking at the canvas as he moves forward. This leaves him vulnerable to the uppercut as he moves in. 

    He has fought more than 50 fights. He's old and shopworn as a professional fighter and very small for the middleweight division. 

Peter Quillin Will Win If...

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Peter Quillin should use this fight as an opportunity to work on his jab and his patience. The only real danger I see him running into against Lukas Konecny is if Quillin aggressively overcommits with his attacks and allows the Czech fighter to pivot out of danger and rough him up with counters.

    The champ should use double and triple jabs in the early rounds to keep Konecny extended out at the end of his punches. As the shorter fighter, Konecny will be forced to cross through danger to get into range to land his own blows.

    As I noted in the section on weaknesses, the challenger has a bad habit of lowering his head when he moves forward, leaving him vulnerable to the uppercut. This should be a big punch for Quillin.

    Once Quillin has established control over Konecny, he should start opening up and letting his hands go with combinations that are designed to end the fight.    

Lukas Konecny Will Win If...

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    Lukas Konecny is going to have to pass through danger to get into range against Peter Quillin. He'll need to lower his level and go heavy to Quillin's body in the early rounds in order to slow the champion down and make him pay for letting his own hands go. 

    Konecny is fighting a bigger, younger and faster fighter who has more power. The only way he can win is with steady movement and careful defense. 

    He needs to frustrate and harass Quillin to draw out his aggression. He needs to force Quillin to extend himself, and then the challenger has to counter aggressively. 

Prediction

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    If Lukas Konecny wins this fight, it will almost certainly be the biggest upset of 2014.

    He is no bum. He's an accomplished professional. But he's also about five years or so past his prime and fighting above his natural weight class. He might have some good moments early, but Peter Quillin is going to break him down with the heavier, faster punches over the course of the fight.

    Konecny has never been stopped in any of his four losses. I expect that to change on Saturday night. I'm picking Quillin by Round 8 TKO.

    For his next fight, the champ's people should match him with a more exciting, high-profile opponent. The most logical next fight for him is a return to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to meet Curtis Stevens for bragging rights in the borough.   

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