A year ago, undefeated prospect Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin packed his bags and headed West, moving from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in what can only be described as a culture shock experience. Quillin, who was rated as high as IBF #5 before a series of unfortunate circumstances (broken hand, hairline fracture of eye socket and emergency appendectomy) shelved him for 18 months, is now handled by multiple Trainer of the Year, Freddie Roach, at his famed Wild Card Gym.
“I moved to LA for my boxing career and it’s made a huge difference,” the personable son of a Cuban father and African-American mother said. “Quality sparring is the big difference. Anytime you’re in Wild Card you could end-up sparring with world champions, former champions or up-and-comers. I’ve sparred with Gennady Golovkin (WBA middleweight champion), Julio Chavez Jr. (WBC middleweight title challenger), Mathew Macklin (European middleweight champion), Craig McEwan and others.”
“You always pick up new things training here. Whether he’s there three hours, three days or three months, Freddie is the guy! Even when he’s away, Freddie is on top of everything, either from talking to his assistants or watching video tape. Freddie’s always watching you. I’ve already shown more knockout power since I’ve been training with him. I know my last two fights may have been against lesser quality guys, but I knocked them both out, setting things up with my jab and having more confidence in my punching power.”
The 27-year-old Quillin (23-0, 17 KOs), born in Chicago and raised in Grand Rapids (MI), also signed an exclusive promotional contract with Golden Boy Promotions. Now he’s on the verge of his most significant career fight April 29 in Reno, Nevada, headlining a show airing on Telefutura against former world title challenger Jessie Brinkley (35-6, 22 KOs), in a 10-round bout for the vacant USBO super middleweight title.
“Golden Boy gets you out there,” Quillin explained his reason for signing with GBP. “Everybody in boxing knows who you are because you’re in Golden Boy’s stable. They told me that they’re high on me and will try and make me a star. Thank God, I made this change for my career. I was sitting around in New York, nothing happen for me back there.
“2009 was a bad year for me, first with hand surgery that kept me out of action for three or four months, and then I was hurt sparring with world cruiserweight champion Guillermo Jones, who must have weighed about 245 pounds. I had sparred with him before for a few of his fights, it wasn’t unusual for me, and he gave me credit when he won his world title. I overcame that injury (hairline fracture eye) and then, two weeks before my fight, I was eating and my stomach felt funny. I was rushed to the hospital and had an emergency appendectomy. I came back (Feb. 6, 2010) against (Fernando) Zuniga and won (10 DEC) but was rusty.”
Two months later, “Kid Chocolate” hit the road and headed west and now, the fighter who is known for tossing candy kisses into the crowd after each of his fights is starting to make history of his own.