In an interview with David Mayo of The Grand Rapids Press, trainer Freddie Roach said he would love to match his fighter, Peter Quillin, against current middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, but Martinez's team dismissed the idea and told Roach to bring his star fighter, Manny Pacquiao.
From The Grand Rapids Press interview:
"Everybody tells me how good Sergio Martinez is," Roach said. "I’d welcome that fight for Pete."
... "How good is the guy, really? Antonio Margarito knocked Martinez out, and that was at 147 pounds," Roach said. "(Kermit) Cintron beat him, also (actually, a draw). He’s a great athlete, and Pete is also, but Pete knows boxing, and Martinez’s boxing skills are limited."
Now first of all, Cintron obviously did not beat Martinez, so Roach might want to fact-check some in the future, and even if he meant that Cintron deserved the win, I've never heard anyone who thinks that Cintron deserved to win that fight. Cintron was counted out by the referee and complained of a headbutt, and the referee bizarrely agreed to restart the fight. At the end of 12 rounds, Martinez was a comfortable winner on the cards in the eyes of most observers, but was stuck with a draw. Most felt he'd won the fight twice only to get shafted. Nobody thinks Cintron won that fight. It's not the best statement from Roach, to say the least.
Martinez's adviser Sampson Lewkowicz took rather rightful offense to the statement when speaking to Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com:
"Roach needs to clean his mouth before he metions the name of Martinez. His comments are very insulting because Martinez lost to Margarito in 2000 with no experience and he got robbed by Cintron after knocking him out and the referee reached the count on ten. Before he opens his mouth, he should watch tapes and not embarrass himself. ... If he doesn't believes that Martinez is anything special, then bring your number one fighter, Manny Pacquiao, and then we could talk."
Quillin (24-0, 18 KO) was a former prospect whose career slowed down due to injuries, but this year he's come back into play under the guidance of Roach at the Wild Card Gym. He's been fighting a bit above the middleweight limit, and in his last fight in April, demolished Jesse Brinkley in three rounds in Brinkley's hometown of Reno.
At 28, Quillin is a bit old to still be a prospect, and is probably looking to move into serious contention quickly. I doubt many feel he's really ready for Sergio Martinez, but many have felt that way about a lot of guys in the past, and they surprised some people. I actually think Quillin has the natural ability to test Martinez -- what I'm not sure of is whether he's got the experience necessary to do much with that ability. Roach seems confident he's got the goods, but Roach is Roach and says a lot of things.
Quillin fights next on July 23 on the Khan vs Judah card against Jason LeHoullier (a replacement for Tarvis Simms, I'm sure that shocks everyone), while Martinez defends his middleweight championship against Darren Barker on October 1.