It’s crowded atop the middleweight division. There are four guys walking around with title belts all calling themselves the champion of the 160-pounders. On Saturday night WBO belt-holder Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin will make another attempt to stake his claim to being the best.
With belt-holders Sergio Martinez (WBC), Gennady Golovkin (WBA) and Felix Sturm (IBF) all claiming middleweight bragging rights, it’s one of the more confusing divisions in boxing. Martinez and Golovkin are definitely the leaders of the pack with Sturm in third position and Quillin in fourth. The Ring magazine actually ranks former titlist Daniel Geale ahead of Quillin.
The hottest fighter in the division currently is Golovkin. Undefeated at 29-0, 26 KOs he is storming through the division like no other. While Quillin is also undefeated at 30-0, 22 KOs there is not as much hype or buzz that accompanies him into the ring when he performs. When asked about Golovkin, Quillin is quick with a response.
“I really get tired of people bringing him up,” he said Saturday ahead of his title defense this weekend against the unknown Lokas Konecny in Washington, D.C. “I’m the best middleweight out there right now, nobody is better than me. I’ve been undefeated for almost ten years, there is nobody better than me.”
Quillin makes a good point for himself, but there is really no one fighter that can proclaim themselves as the absolute best in the division until they fight one another. Another issue is that Quillin appears on the Showtime network while Martinez and Golovkin appear on HBO. Just call Quillin another casualty of boxing’s long running cold-war.
“I’d love to fight Sergio Martinez first and then Gennady Golovkin,” said Quillin. “But I make more money fighting on Showtime on undercard fights than Golovkin makes, I can guarantee you that. But Martinez has all the accolades of the middleweight champion and he is the cash cow of the division. I know the fans would say Golovkin first, but from a business standpoint the fight that makes most sense is with Martinez.”
With Martinez facing Miguel Cotto on June 7 and Golovkin likely to meet Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. in July there is little chance of Quillin seeing either of those match-ups anytime soon. One bright spot is that Quillin, 30, is the youngest of the belt-holders with Martinez at 37, Sturm aged 35 and Golovkin at 32-years-old. Provided he can continue to defend his title belt and remain undefeated the big fights will likely come his way sooner rather than later.
“I have no control over what goes on behind the scenes,” explains Quillin when it comes to the Showtime versus HBO feud and whether he will ever fight the other belt-holders. “Look, I’m ready, I’m hungry and I’m motivated and I’m striving to be the best. I’ve already said I’d fight them. Do I leave a network that is considered the best for boxing right now and give up everything that I have right here that’s making money?”
Clearly the answer to that is no. Quillin is a big favorite to make it past #1 contender Konecny on Saturday night in the third defense of the title he has held since 2012. But unless he can somehow secure a bout with a big name or with another one of the belt-holders in his division, the talented and well-spoken Quillin could be just another face in the middleweight crowd for a while to come.