By Dan Ambrose: Former WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin (31-0-1, 22 KOs) is taking an easy tune-up fight this Saturday night on September 12th against a fighter named Michael Zerafa (17-1, 9 KOs) in a 10 round bout on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC from the Foxwoods Resort, in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
The Quillin-Zerafa fight will take place at a catch-weight of 163 pounds. It’s unclear why the 32-year-old Quillin felt the need to take a tune-up fight after his 12 round draw against WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee last April. It would seem like the better move for Quillin would have been to continue to face quality opposition rather than throwing more of his career away with needless tune-up bouts or extended periods away from the sport.
Quillin was out of boxing from April 2014 to April 2015 after he decided to give up his WBO 160lb title rather than face his #1 WBO mandatory challenger Matt Korobov. After all that time off, it doesn’t look like Quillin has come out ahead. He couldn’t make weight for his fight against Lee, and he’d recently talked about wondering whether he could make weight for the Zerafa fight. I suppose that’s why the weight limit was raised to 163lbs from 160.
If Quillin beats Zerafa, the idea is for him to challenge WBA “regular” middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs for his title in what would likely be called “the Battle of Brooklyn.” It would be an East Coast thing where the interest in the fight would largely be from that area of the country rather than from the entir e United States. U.S fans as a whole would likely prefer to see Quillin fight the real WBA champion in Gennady “GGG” Golovkin rather than the lower level belt holder Daniel Jacobs.
“My job is to take everybody seriously, whether it’s Michael, whether it’s Danny Jacobs, whether it’s Gennady Golovkin or whether it’s any other name out there,” Quillin said to ESPN.com. “If he comes in there and beats me then he would probably be pulling off one of the biggest upsets in boxing recently.”
I don’t think it would be a huge upset, because Quillin looks like he’s lost a couple of steps through age and inactivity. Quillin looked poor in his last fight against Andy Lee, and he was quite fortunate get a draw out of that fight. If he hadn’t dropped Lee twice in the first three rounds of the contest, Quillin would have surely lost because he completely caved in during the second half of the fight.
Zerafa, 23, is obviously an easy mark they’ve selected for Quillin to get a victory over, but I still wouldn’t see it as a huge upset if Quillin lost, because I don’t see him as a really good fighter. I don’t think Quillin ever was a really good fighter. He was just a guy who fought beatable opponents like Gabriel Rosado, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Fernando Guerrero, an old Winky Wright, and Lukas Konecny. Quillin has been matched up much in the same way as David Lemieux in fighting weaker opposition for the most part instead of the really good fighters like Miguel Cotto, Gennady Golovkin, Tureano Johnson and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
“That matchup between Jacobs and Quillin figures to be one of the biggest fights you can make in New York, one of the biggest fights in the middleweight division,” said promoter Lou Dibella to ESPN.com.
Jacobs-Quillin is probably one of the biggest fights in New York, but that’s not saying much. There are far better fights than can be made than this, such as Jacobs vs. Golovkin or Quillin vs. Golovkin. Jacobs is seen as a paper champion in the minds of a lot of boxing fans and not a real champion.
Jacobs didn’t have to beat anyone good to win the WBA “regular” middleweight title. He only had to defeat Jarrod Fletcher last year in September to win the WBA strap. In Jacob’s two title defenses, he’s been matched very weakly in being put in with Caleb Truax and Sergio Mora instead of against good middleweights that could potentially beat him like Tureano Johnson, Arif Magomedov, Cotto, Canelo and Golovkin.
Jacobs will win this Saturday and likely stop the little known Zerafa. It won’t be much of a fight because Zerafa doesn’t have any punching power.
Also on the card is IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelius Bundrage defending his title against Jermall Charlo and Hugo Centeno Jr. facing Lukasz Maciec.