WBO middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin promised to turn the first defense of his title into a virtual cat-and-mouse game when he faces Fernando Guerrero on April 27 as part of the Showtime-televised card featuring RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia vs. Zab Judah at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“The only thing that a mouse do when f–king running from a cat is that when he runs into his hole, he’s mad that he ran from the cat. Alright?” said Quillin, 29, a Chicago-born Brooklyn resident.
“When he comes back out of the hole, and he decides that he wants to fight the cat, and be able to put up a fight, and he finds out that it’s a fight that he can’t win, then he runs back into the hole.”
Quillin, who is of Cuban descent, is coming off October’s unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Hassan N’Dam, whom Quillin dropped six times
In addition, Quillin (28-0, 20 knockouts) has faced the more experienced fighters, having knocked out Jesse Brinkley and Craig McEwen in the third and sixth rounds, respectively, and decisioned southpaw former titleholder Ronald “Winky” Wright in June of 2012 before beating N’Dam.
“Roberto Duran said it best: Once you stop trying to learn, then you’re no longer good enough anymore. I take every task to try to make myself even better. I’m not up the ladder where I want to be yet. I want to be a unified champion. I want to be all of these other things. Whatever comes my way, I just make sure that I bust the challenges down,” said Quillin, who dropped Wright in the fifth round.
“Before the Winky Wright fight, people said that I would make it an ugly fight and that Winky Wright would out-class me. A lot of things were said about me, and to put on the performance that I did against Winky, it made me a better fighter. Fighting Guerrero, he’s another southpaw, and I have a lot of experience fighting southpaws, so I feel comfortable in the ring.”
Guerrero (25-1, 19 KOs), 26, of Salisbury, Md., will be after his fifth straight victory since falling in June of 2011 by fourth-round knockout to 40-year-old journeyman Grady Brewer.
For the bout against Brewer, Guerrero weighed in at a career-low 152 3/4 pounds. Since then, however, Guerrero has returned to middleweight, where he has been on a roll.
“That was one of the hardest things in my life,” said Guerrero. “When you lose a fight like that, and you were undefeated, it’s hard. You go through those breakdowns, that’s when you show your true colors. It had been easy. I was knocking everybody out, and I was the strongest.”
“How far am I from all of that? I’m not far away at all. I don’t want to be far away. Every position and every place that I’ve been has made me what I am now and who I am now.”
Still, Quillin has vowed to bring Guerrero’s winning streak to an end.
“You are not beating me on April 27. The only thing that you’re going to know how to do is to run back into that hole like you did with Grady Brewer. You’re going to lose. You’re fighting not to lose again, and I’m fighting to keep my undefeated record,” said Quillin.
“I’m fighting to be the powerful undefeated champion that God sent me here to be. You’re fighting a hungry little animal. The only thing you’re going to be in this fight is that mouse, and I’m the cat. So just be that mouse, man, and just run into that hole.”
Alluding to an early life in the Dominican Republic during which he, at times, did not own a pair of shoes, Guerrero said, “Peter, you’ve probably never even been to Cuba.”
“I have been two Cuba. I witnessed my family living in the same house that my father lived in for over 32 years. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic. I’ve been to China. I’ve been everywhere,” said Quillin.
“The thing about me is that I do this for myself and for nobody else. So once I step in there, on April 27, “The only thing that Fernando Guerrero is going to be able to do is to be a mouse and run back into that hole, because I’m going to be a cat on his ass.”
“I don’t even know what he’s talking about — the rat, and the mouse and the cat or whatever. I just know what made me,” said Guerrero.
“I know what I fight for and I know what my purpose is. My heart. I don’t just feed from myself, I feed from everybody. All of that energy keeps me alive.”
Guerrero says he wants to be to boxing what Sammy Sosa was to the Dominican Republic in professional baseball.
“The following for me has always been great, but all I need is one or two people, and they always come through for me, and not just because I’m doing it for myself or anything. I fight for different reasons,” said Guerrero.
“It’s not just about boxing, it’s about what boxing means to those people. They like what I have achieved, and so I get in there for those people because those are the ones that made me, and I’m going to put my life on the line.”
To that end, Guerrero said he welcomes similar action to that in the fight between Quillin and N’Dam.
“If he hits me hard, I’m going to hit him harder. If he’s fast, I’m going to be way faster. If he’s better, I’m going to be better than him. So it’s just going with the flow. It would be an honor to fight that way. I would love to fight just like that,” said Guerrero.
“We want those historical moments. I’m a fighter. I’ve never been bullied. A lot of times things happen, but you can overcome them. I’m still here and I still know that I’m the best and I still feel like I’m the best. I’ve lost in the amateurs, but once I lost, I just come back and I beat the guy up the next time. I’ve been through it all.”
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Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com