STEVE FARHOOD INTERVIEWS PETER QUILLIN ABOUT UPCOMING TITLE FIGHT
Press Release: Peter ďKid ChocolateĒ Quillin is a New York kind of guy who challenges fellow unbeaten WBO middleweight titlist Hassan NíDam in one of four world title fights on Saturday, October 20th, in the first-ever boxing event at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Quillin recently answered six questions with Showtime boxing analyst and historian Steve Farhood:
Steve Farhood: You're originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, not New York City, but youíve lived in New York for the last 12 years. What about you suggests youíre a true New Yorker?
Peter Quillin: I have no problem drinking coffee in the morning with a bagel. Iím a corner-bodega kind of guy; I donít like to be the type of person who goes to Starbucks just because everybody else goes there. Also, Iím not really a morning person. On the subway in the morning, thereís dead quiet. Nobody says anything -- me included. And if somebody asks me for directions, I tell them I donít know -- even if I do... I fit right in.
SF: The original Kid Chocolate was the first world champ from Cuba. Your dad is Cuban. There have been many great Cuban champions, but you're the first one I remember whoís publicly paid homage to Kid Chocolate. Why?
PQ: Fighters here take the name Muhammad for Ali, or Sugar. I took the name Kid Chocolate not so much for Cuba, but for my father, who came here with nothing. Itís a tribute to his culture. I went to Cuba 2 1/2 years ago and met three half-brothers and sisters for the first time. My father is 75 and he still lives in Grand Rapids. I speak to him in Spanish more than I ever have. Itís very important for me to learn the language. ďThe original Kid Chocolate was not only a great fighter, but when he came here, he was very big in New York.
SF: The original Kid Chocolate fought many times in New York City, including several times in Brooklyn. What does it mean to have your biggest fight to date at the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn?
PQ: Iíve lived in Brooklyn, and when I first heard about this show, I kept it to myself. You know when youíre growing up and your mom says sheíll get you something for Christmas? Well, you donít say anything because youíre scared that if you do, it wonít happen. This is my Christmas... This is big for me. New York created me as a person and a fighter. The aggressiveness... the hard work for something you want. Believe it or not, growing up in Michigan, I used to talk with a fake Brooklyn accent.
SF: There's been a lot of complaining about the lack of top-level American heavyweights, but youíre the only American in the middleweight top 20. Does that create pressure?
PQ: In 1982, there were eight American middleweights rated by ĎThe Ring.í Fast-forward, and now thereís only me, but Iím not letting the pressure get to me. I have to use that fact as motivation. Itís not about the money, itís about my legacy. I never allow anybody to call me champ. I say, ĎWeíre getting there.í After October 20, theyíll call me champ and Iíll accept it gracefully. In fact, Iíll probably cry.Ē
SF: If youíre successful against NíDam, what fight might the win propel you toward?
PQ: I have [advisor] Al Haymon and Golden Boy; all the sweat and pain, and now Iím seeing the rewards. They look after me. Whatever fights come my way. Personally, whenever I called for (WBC champion) Sergio Martinez, people said I was being disrespectful, but I just wanted to fight the best. And Iím tired of hearing about (WBA regular title holder) Gennady Golovkin. He had 400 amateur fights; heís supposed to be doing what heís doing. (IBF champion/WBA super champion) Daniel Geale...there are too many names out there to call out just one. Iím gonna let my team handle it.Ē
SF: You've had 27 pro bouts. The original Kid Chocolate had 151. You think you'll catch up?
PQ: That greatness is what Iím working towards, but 151--thatís a scary number.Ē
Tickets are available for purchase at www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 800-745-3000.