WBO middleweight champ Peter Quillin led off the Showtime show on Saturday night, in DC, against Lukas Konecny, a Czech who had never fought in the US before, and never been stopped in his four losses.
Konecny kept that distinction alive, lasting the distance against the champ, but that's looking on the bright side for Konecny. Quillin did what he wanted, when he wanted, though he wasn't able to hurt Konecny that much, let along drop him. The judges had the final say, and there was no doubt that even a CJ Ross would muck this one up: the scores were 120-108, 119-109, 119-109 for Quillin.
Q went 403-880 to 197-456 for the loser.
Quillin spoke to Jim Gray after the win was announced. He said K was a tough fighter, but he noted he could always improve. He will watch tape and dissect he said. He said he's at the level of a Golovkin, and would like to fight him or Sergio Martinez. Is Danny Jacobs next? Sure, he's up for that, he stated. Quillin gave a shoutout to the missus, due in July. He has always wanted to be a dad, he said.
The New Yorker Quillin had a height and reach advantage on the check, but K landed the left hook a few times through two rounds. Q was sharp with the jab, and worked downstairs as well. Quiilin fought a lot off the back foot, and K, who promised to retire if he didn't win, had some luck backing Q to the ropes. K didn't look out of his league, which many folks thought he would, through three. But he lacked pop, and Q knew from early on that he could withstand K's best shot, in all probability, and stay standing.
The 35-year-old Czech came in with a 50-4 mark, but he's fought B grade and lesser foes. The 30-0 Quillin threw a hellacious left hand to the side that had K wincing in the fourth. Q's combos impressed the judges and you had to think the longer this went, the more steam K would lose after every session.
In the fifth, Quillin snaked a right behind the ear, something he'd had luck with before. K's high guard, with gloves in front of his face left that ear open. A right to the body by Quillin had Konecny shaking his head no, you didn't hurt me...but you know it did.
Quillin piled up the combos to start the sixth. They both got a break when K's shoelace came untied. He fixed that, and then kept coming forward, but wasn't throwing enough. He did show a solid chin, you have to give him that, and he ate a ton of lefts to the body, so that held up well to this point, too. A right hand, though, did buzz the Czech, and made him do a two-step. Konecny clipped Quillin with a right hand, which connected solidly, but he simply doesn't possess the pop to do much damage on a an A grade fighter. Future foe Danny Jacobs, working color, said during the sixth that Quillin needed to do damage on K, needed to impress if he wants to elevate his stature in the game. Trainer Eric Brown asked Quillin to throw uppercuts, but be ready to see a hook coming after that.
In round eight, we saw K's face bear some scratches. Quillin was deliberate, doign what he wanted, when he wanted it. A right and then left uppercut landed clean. "He's ready to break down now," Eric Brown told Q after the eighth.
In round nine, Quillin kept on having his way. K landed a left while Quillin backed straight up, but with his junior middleweight power didn't bother the New York resident. In the 10th, the two exchanged fire on the ropes, as some fans started booing. K kept on coming forward and landed some clean shots but they weren't zippy enough to bother Q, or take rounds. K's right eye sported a slice, on his lid, but the doc let it go. In the 11th, both men threw uppercuts, but K didn't step it up, get crazed, though he had to know he was losing in a big way. He did land a few left hooks, and stepped up the pressure late in the 11th, to his credit. In the 12th, Q stayed smart, moving laterally, popping the jab, while K pressed forward, cut off the ring, but did nothing with it. Blood poured from K's nose, as his chance to win circled the drain. He ate a low blow, which was really on the belt, not groin, to add to the insult, with a minute left.
We went to the cards.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV