By Matt Richardson
Photos: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
For years, middleweight boxers Peter Quillin and Danny Jacobs have danced around each other. The two Brooklyn-based 160-pounders fought in the same venues, trained in the same gyms and even attended one another’s bouts. They shook hands, exchanged nods and cheered for the same crew of fighters.
But on Saturday night their shared bond will go deeper than it ever has before. That’s because Quillin (32-0-1, 23 KO’s) and Jacobs (30-1, 27 KO’s) will go from a pair of seats ringside to opposite corners in the ring as they square off for Jacobs’ WBA belt at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
For Quillin, who has been training for the fight for more than two months, this was a natural and expected evolution.
“Of course,” Quillin told Fightnews last week, “it was always a path crossing. I knew it was inevitable. It was always going to happen. It’s just part of the story and part of the journey so I accept things as they come. I’m trying to hurt him and I know he’s doing the same thing. So there are no problems with that. You can be friendly to people but it doesn’t mean you’ve got to be friends with them.”
Despite the intimate nature of the fight Quillin said he has maintained his focus on the assignment.
“Have you ever heard me do an interview or ask a question being conformed to what people think I should say?” he asked. “I’m always logically putting it just the way it is. Everybody knows that I got a fight in me. I fight until there’s no fight left in me. It seems like I’m just a go-in type of guy, where there’s only one way for me to lose and that’s to be knocked out or beat up badly because I haven’t had many bumps in my career where I took a superb beating.”
“I think within this fight, Jacobs is going to prove all the things he wants to do in this fight and he wants to do everything right,” continued Quillin. “But the one thing he doesn’t know is that he’s in front of Peter Quillin, ‘Kid Chocolate,’ a guy that’s been out there and people know that I’m a serious threat. If he knows that and he’s smart enough then maybe all of his plans may come together. But I’m coming in there with my own plan and we’re just going to see that night who executes their plan better.”
Asked if he noticed anything he could capitalize on in Jacobs’ last performance, a wild shootout with Sergio Mora that saw Jacobs hit the deck; Quillin opted to take a more philosophical view.
“We’ve got to leave what’s in the past in our past and deal with what’s right now to be able to get to our future,” he said. “Everybody has a part of their life where they learn some valuable lessons and they want to move forward. I think that’s what being wise is-experience what you can and applying it to your life. Maybe in that fight with Mora he learned some things that are going to help him out in this fight. I try not to look too much at somebody’s past because everybody at a point in their life will be at a certain place at a certain time and they think differently than what they can think right now. This is a different fight. I’m a different fighter from Sergio Mora, no disrespect to him. I know Danny is going to come to win and I’m trying to do the same thing.”
Still, a win here is not just another “W” to add to Quillin’s record. It would arguably be his most significant to date and it would take place in his hometown, no less.
“I’m very blessed,” he stated. “Can you imagine growing up with no money and then having the opportunity to live out your dreams and make money doing it? To me, it’s like a payday. I live right there in Brooklyn, the heart of Brooklyn in Fort Greene. I have a lot of people from Brooklyn who are going to be in attendance at the fight for me. What more can you ask for?”
“This is part of the journey that is like a blessing,” he said. “To have this honor, the moments in life, that’s special while being a boxer. These are the moments that count. So it’s about putting my best foot forward. My story’s been an inspirational story so you kind of figure, while I’m around and I get to inspire people I’m going to take every opportunity to do it.”
Quillin had difficulty making the 160-pound weight limit for his last title shot against Andy Lee in April (the fight was scored a draw) but he said he doesn’t anticipate any difficulty weighing in later this week.
“I hate to say that this has been one of my best camps because you hear that and then the guy doesn’t look so good in the performance,” he said. “So I’m just going to keep it like: I learned a lot in this camp and I hope I can put all the things that I learned in this camp to good use in the ring that night, December 5. I’ve been training for about two months. I’ve been training in South Beach, Florida in Miami. I feel good. My weight is coming together good. We got a good plan. My weight feels good. It seems like being in Miami was a good choice for me to train at because of the heat and just because of the access I had to the gym, to the track, to the swimming pool, to the beach. All these things helped me have a motivated workout to get the weight off.”
Matt Richardson covers boxing in New York and Atlantic City. He is a Vice President and Secretary for the Boxing Writers Association of America, a voter for the International Boxing Hall of Fame and a former writer for FOX News. Follow him on Twitter: @MRichardson713 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org