NEW YORK – WBO middleweight titleholder Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin made a successful first defense of his title with a seventh-round technical knockout of Fernando Guerrero at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the co-featured bout to Danny Garcia-Zab Judah. The time of stoppage was 1:30.
After a tentative first round, Quillin (29-0, 21 knockouts) of Brooklyn by way of Grand Rapids, Mich., came out aggressively in the second round, landing a right cross followed by left hook that got Guerrero’s attention.
As Guerrero (25-2, 19 KOs) began to get his rhythm going behind a southpaw right jab, Quillin swung the momentum back in his favor with a right cross down the middle that put Guerrero on his back. Guerrero, a native of the Dominican Republic who now resides in Salisbury, Md., rose up on unsteady legs but was promptly sent down by another Quillin right cross.
Guerrero, whose lone prior defeat was a fourth-round knockout loss to Grady Brewer at 154 pounds, seemed to be out on his feet by the end of the fourth round following another Quillin right hand, with trainer Barry Hunter nearly carrying him back to the corner.
Guerrero wouldn’t go out without a final hurrah, fighting back valiantly in a toe-to-toe sixth round. Guerrero had his best success in close, where he was able to land winging, overhand lefts, though with significantly less impact than Quillin’s shots. Near the end of the round, Quillin landed a right cross flush on Guerrero’s nose, to which Guerrero responded by feigning that his legs were shaking.
A round later, the effect would be far more sincere.
About a minute into the seventh, Quillin opened Guerrero up with a right uppercut, followed by a pair of right crosses that sent Guerrero reeling across the ring towards the neutral corner. Referee Harvey Dock fell to his knees trying to separate the fighters as he picked up the count.
With Guerrero fighting off instinct, the rangier Quillin found his mark as a right hand rained down on the crouched Guerrero’s temple, sending him flat to the ground. Dock stopped the bout without a count.
“I give Fernando a lot of credit for coming up and trying to beat me,” said Quillin, who won the title in October with a unanimous decision over Hassan N’dam. “I tried to stick to the game plan, and my corner kept telling me what to do and I tried to do that. A lot of my fights have ended in the first round, so I’m happy once a guy makes it past the second round because that means he was there to fight.”
“He was the better fighter tonight,” conceded Guerrero. “His power was good.”
Guerrero, whose regular trainer Virgil Hunter was in England working with Amir Khan for his fight with Julio Diaz on the same night, said the change in plans affected him. “I went through a lot this camp, and with Virgil not being here, it was hard,” Guerrero said. “But it’s all good. I tried to force it. He’s a great champion and he took a good punch. I’m a warrior. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to continue to fight for my family and for the Dominican Republic.”
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