Mashantucket, Conn. — Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin is sick of answering the same question.
You know the one.
Was it really a good move to give up your WBO middleweight title and a million dollar plus payday against Matt Korobov to follow boxing’s Pied Piper, Al Haymon, into an unknown fistic future?
According to Quillin, it definitely was. “When somebody can revive boxing the way he’s done, you have to respect that,” Quillin told me in regards to the controversial figure.
In his second fight under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner, Quillin (Brooklyn, NY, 160, 32-0-1, 23 KOs) now beltless and coming off a disputed draw against current WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee, took on an unknown Australian named Michael Zerafa, Melbourne, Australia (162, 17-2, 9 KOs) at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut on Saturday afternoon at the Grand Theater, formerly known as the MGM Grand Foxwoods.
It was a showcase fight for Quillin and he shined brightly as the powerful puncher that he still is. Scrappy but not terribly skilled, Zerafa managed to avoid a patient Quillin’s power early in the fight, even landing a hard right hand and an uppercut in the third round that got Quillin’s attention and won the underdog the round on my card from press row. As the pace picked up in the fourth, Quillin began to pick his opponent off with the jab and sneaky left hooks. In the fifth, an entertaining fist fight finally broke out and Quillin took his chance to pounce, pulverizing Zerafa with a clubbing right hand on the ropes that sent the Aussie down and out, flat on his back, where he was taken from the ring on a yellow stretcher that matched his bright ring attire. The official time of the scary knockout was 1:06 of the fifth.
The winner then jaw-jacked back and forth with “regular” WBA middleweight champion Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, seated ringside as an announcer for PBC, and the pair are reportedly scheduled to tussle December 5 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, this according to promoter Lou DiBella.
During the post-fight presser, Quillin was handed a cell phone by DiBella and on the other end was his battered opponent, Michael Zerafa, calling from the local hospital to say that he was fine. The fighters exchanged pleasantries before an emotional Quillin reminded the media in attendance that boxing is a sport and that the last thing he wants to do is hurt somebody permanently.
The card, aired on NBC television and promoted by DiBella Entertainment, also featured an IBF super welterweight championship title fight between the aging champion Cornelius “K9” Bundrage (Detroit, MI, 153, 34-6, 19 KOs) and undefeated upstart challenger Jermall Charlo (Houston, TX, 153, 22-0, 17 KOs), the twin brother of Jermell Charlo, and boxing fans can be excused if they can’t tell the pair apart.
The brothers look incredibly similar and both have recently seen world title opportunities slip through their fingers. Not to be outdone, Charlo did his best to distinguish himself from his own kin as early as the first round with a chopping right hand that sent Bundrage crashing to the canvas with a stunned look of shock on his face. Charlo pressed his overwhelming speed advantage in the second round, scoring another knockdown against the defending champion, this time off a short left hook. The in-ring disaster for Bundrage continued unabated into the third round, which saw Charlo nearly blow “K9” out of the ring with two more knockdowns, the second of which caused referee John Callas to call a halt at 2:33.
With the dominating knockout victory, Charlo is now the IBF junior middleweight champion and he put the entire 154 pound division on notice that he is a true force to be reckoned with. “I am the future of boxing,” proclaimed the proud new champion in the ring with his brother Jermell by his side. After an impressive performance like that on network television, he might just be right. Said the defeated but upbeat 42 year-old ex-champion, “You win some and you lose some.”
In the third televised fight of the day, Hugo Centeno (Oxnard, CA, 161, 23-0, 12 KOs) defeated Lukasz Maciec (Lublin, Poland, 159, 22-3-1, 5 KOs) by unanimous decision in an eight rounder. Neat and tidy, Centeno resembles polished junior welterweight Jose Benavidez in the ring and he used his advantages in size and skill to outpoint his plodding Polish opponent by score of 79-73, 79-73, and 78-74.
Undercard Results: Super featherweight Gary Stark Jr. (Staten Island, NY, 25-3, 8 KOs) defeated Anthony Napunyi (Kenya, 15-16, 8 KOs) by six round unanimous decision (59-55, 58-56, 58-56) in the opening bout of the afternoon. Bantamweight prospect Antonio “Another” Russell (Washington, DC, 4-0, 3 KOs) overwhelmed Manuel Rubalcava (Mexico, 2-15) to score a second round knockout at 1:26. Super featherweight Titus Williams (Elmont, NY, 2-0, 1 KO) crushed Benjamin Burgos (New York, NY, 2-13-1) with an overhand right for the knockout in the first round of a scheduled four.
Light heavyweight Marcus Browne (Staten Island, NY, 16-0, 12 KOs) blasted out a faded Gabriel Campillo (Madrid, Spain, 25-8-1, 12 KOs) in the first round with an impressive display of power, scoring two knockdowns to bring about a compassionate stoppage from Arthur Mercante Jr. at :55 of the first. Campillo, who came in overweight by two pounds, hasn’t been the same since he was crushed by Sergey Kovalev in 2013 at nearby Mohegan Sun.
Female super bantamweight sensation Shelito Vincent (Providence, RI, 15-0, 1 KO) outworked and outclassed Brittany Cruz (Thornton, CO, 10-7-2-2) over the eight round distance, winning by unanimous decision. Cruz came to the ring with a smirk on her face but Vincent managed to wipe it off with a methodical attack on the inside of her taller, leaner opponent.
Super featherweight Bryant Cruz (Port Chester, NY, 16-0, 8 KOs) defeated Jonathan Perez (Columbia, 33-13) by a wide eight round unanimous decision in an entertaining scrap that went off in the ring after the NBC broadcast ended. Fans who stuck around saw a nice little fight to end the night. Perez thought he won the bout and so did a few folks seated at ringside.