Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime
Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin’s story is one they make movies about. From growing up in Grand Rapids with a multi-ethnic family, to living couch-to-couch in Brooklyn, Quillin has always been in a fight. Be it in the ring or in life; Quillin has made a living off of constantly proving people wrong, even the people closest to him.
Round By Round Boxing talks to the WBO Middleweight Champion to touch on his early life, current triumphs and struggles, and how the Middleweight divisional landscape is changing and where he sees himself going from here.
Round By Round Boxing: Hello Peter, thank you very much taking your time out to speak with us.
Peter Quillin: No problem, no problem. Glad to talk to you, let’s get it started.
RBRBoxing: Can you speak on the adversity you faced in the beginning of your career and early in life?
Quillin: Well it was hard, but it always is. That is one of the reasons why I work so hard to stay where I am.
RBRBoxing: Was there ever someone close to you that just didn’t believe in you and you were able to have an “I told you so” moment?
Quillin: You know sadly, my mother was that person. She didn’t really believe in me growing up. When I told her “I’m gonna be great”, she kinda just said whatever. But honestly in the past she wasn’t in a stable mind, she was on drugs and stuff, it was rough.
RBRBoxing: I’m aware you’re of Cuban descent, are you fluent in Spanish and how have the Cuban or Latino community in general embraced you? (As I finished asking this question, Quillin started speaking in Spanish rapidly. As my fluent brain comprehended everything he said swiftly, I was utterly impressed).
Quillin: [In Spanish] I don’t speak much Spanish, but I do know some. I want to just give in to my Cuban heritage and embrace all the Cuban people. My mother may be American, but I know in my heart I am 100% Cuban. It’s great to be embraced by Latinos everywhere, I’m blessed man.
RBRBoxing: You’ve gained a lot of fans in your previous fights, where you’ve been spectacular with multiple knockdowns and ending them early. You have received some flack over your most recent fight with Gabriel Rosado, a fighter most media believed you would beat soundly, including myself. You did have the knockdown early and the cut over his eye was from a punch and was significantly damaged. Do you think its fair criticism for a decision that was made by the doctors, and completely out of your hands, to be blamed on you? Do you see a rematch with Rosado in the future to quell the critics?
Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime
Quillin: I know he wanted the fight to continue, but that had nothing to do with me. Was it an entertaining fight? Yes it was. Was the eye a factor? Yes, it was bad, and it was by my punch. If the rematch makes sense and money, then I have no problem with that, but my job is fighting the guys they put in front of me, I’m not a promoter.
RBRBoxing: I know there are rumors circulating of a Danny Jacobs, Brooklyn mega fight sometime early this year, but what is the fight you want?
Quillin: If the money is there, yeah. I’ll fight who they put in front of me, that’s my job. That fight can be done and it’ll be a good fight.
RBRBoxing: Now we all know of the infamous cold war in boxing involving your promotional company, Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank/HBO. It seems that a lot of the bigger names in your division and one division north are aligned with HBO and Showtime really only has you as a Middleweight star. There were positives, such as each cable company being forced to match up their best against one another, a move that put great fights for fans, but does there come a point where the screams to fight your divisional counterparts become deafening? Do you yourself become annoyed or irked by it? Is it unfair for you to be put in a spot where it is beyond your control?
Quillin: You know there are so many other fighters that are coming in and making names for themselves. Stories will be told, the way they are told. Some things I have control over and some things I don’t. I’m just thankful to be able to pay my bills and put away money and buy the things I feel like I deserve. With that being said, why should I have to worry about what they say or what they do right now? There’s so much money behind fighting ‘til they can’t deny it anymore. Until then I’ll just keep on having to build my name. I’m still nobody right now man, I’m still like a nobody in my eyes. I still have a lot more room for improvement and to grow and many more years of boxing to put my best foot forward.
RBRBoxing: Who would you like to fight next? With the HBO/Showtime Cold War in the picture. Realistically, who?
Quillin: Martin Murray, all the guys not tied into HBO. Martin Murray, Darren Barker, guys that aren’t tied to that specific network. I think its gonna happen, just I have to be patient and just keep going out there, doing me. Hopefully just stay busy come next year.
RBRBoxing: Would you be interested in fighting outside the U.S?
Quillin: We already offered that choice to Martin Murray. We definitely offered to go there and I’m more than willing to travel. If it’s a place to build my name and its good money over there, why not?
RBRBoxing: How long do you think you will stay in the Middleweight division? Any plans to move up and who would you like to fight in the higher divisions?
Quillin: No, not right now. I mean Gabe [Rosado] was bigger than me, maybe he should move up in weight and fight the bigger guys.
RBRBoxing: You are very good with interacting with your fans on social media. How important is that for you? Especially when a lot of athletes have PR people running it for them, it’s refreshing to see athletes reply back to some fans questions.
Qullin: I’m thankful man, because that’s the stuff that keeps me humble, keeps my grounded. Being able to connect with everyone who supports me, I’m blessed.
RBRBoxing: I know you recently got married earlier this year, how has that changed you as a man and fighter?
Quillin: It’s definitely for the better. Every day is a blessing, it’s great. She has a great job, I have mine, it does make things easier, but also makes me work harder. I have to make sure my family has something, I work for it, for us.
RBRBoxing: You train at the Wild Card and Wild Card West gym in Los Angeles, yet you and your family live in Brooklyn, NY. How does that work? Is it hard going across the country to train or is it better?
Qullin: I like to keep it separate. I like to clear my mind and keep it strictly business. It makes everything easier.