Words: Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Photos: Esther Lin/Showtime
Like the main event cruiserweight match-up between Antonio Tarver and Lateef Kayode, Peter Quillin‘s bout with Winky Wright (51-5-0, 25ko) pits youth and enthusiasm against age and experience. Wright, like Tarver, has never incurred a knockout defeat but he has a young buck in front of him on June 2 at the Home Depot Center in Carson that is hunting for his head. For Winky, though, that’s exactly what he says he has been looking for in an opponent…
“I’m prepared for anything,” said Quillin (26-0-0, 20ko), who weighed in at 159.6lbs, during the build-up to fight night. “I’m prepared to fight King Kong if I have to. That’s what I’ve been training to do. I make sure that I have to endure every struggle while I’m in camp so I can see the glory when I step in the ring.”
Despite Wright’s 37 month inactivity, the fact he is a known survivor adds intrigue to his clash with Quillin as Peter is on a knockout run having scalped Martin Desjardins, Dennis Sharpe, Jesse Brinkley, Jason LeHoullier and Craig McEwan all ahead of schedule.
“I haven’t been the distance in over two years now,” Kid Chocolate commented. “My last five fights have been stoppages [in] six rounds or less. Boxing is all about the challenges. And that’s why Winky Wright and I took this fight. I never really said I was going to knock him out. Pluto is a place that he’s never been. Now if he happens to see stars then that’s not my problem.”
Despite Wright’s ring absence, he never seriously ballooned up in weight, only putting on 15lbs more than his heaviest fighting weight (170lbs versus Bernard Hopkins in 2007): “I’m not going to say I stayed in boxing shape,” he said. “I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t in boxing shape. I may have weighed 185.”
Wright, who scaled in at 159lbs during Friday, June 1′s weigh-in, added: “[The old Winky from 2004 is] still here. I have a great opponent that will bring it out of me. I didn’t pick a bum, I picked a kid that is undefeated, hungry and wants to prove to the world he’s great. He’s tough and that’s what I’m looking for.”
Wright is unfazed at the prospect of Quillin having home support as the fighter has made the West Coast his adopted home. Winky commented that he is comfortable having taken the “Marvin Hagler” route to the top by taking on guys in their own yards.
“Maybe a lot of people didn’t have to take the route that I had to take to get where I got to, but I think taking that route made me a better and stronger fighter. It made me a tougher fighter because I knew that I could win no matter where I was.” The only question that remains is if the former undisputed ruler of 154lb boxing is still better and stronger at 40-years-old with a three year layoff behind him…