Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin has held the WBO middleweight title since October 2012, when he beat Hassan N'dam in a thriller in boxing's maiden voyage at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. But the 30-year-old Quillin feels he hasn't received much respect to date as one of the world's top middleweights, with much of the criticism aimed at his opposition.
In 2013, he beat Fernando Guerrero and Gabriel Rosado, both considered fringe contenders, and on Saturday night in Washington, D.C., he faces Lukas Konecny, an aging junior middleweight and former European champ at 154 pounds.
Quillin (30-0, 22 KO) is just going about his business, though, and has a realistic stance about claims that he hasn't fought a top middleweight, such as Sergio Martinez or Gennady Golovkin.
"If the money is right, I'm up for fighting any of the top names, especially Martinez and Golovkin. But everybody's aware of what's going on behind the scenes," he said, noting the "Cold War" between HBO/Top Rank and Showtime/Golden Boy. "My job is to work hard and be ready."
As for the lack of respect, Quillin has no explanation. "Some things can't be explained. I'm not a matchmaker, never have been, and it's too late now. I have the most powerful team in boxing. I let them decide who I fight. I learned not to worry about what some people say. Hey, I want to fight the best middleweights in the world, but I understand that boxing is a business. I just stay focused on who I'm fighting and Konecny has 50 wins."
The fighter says he just stays focused on the good things, and the positives in his career and his life.
"I've been undefeated for 9½ years and not many can say that. I'm the only American middleweight champion, the only world champion from where I grew up in Grand Rapids since Floyd. I fight for my family, fans and friends. I'm proud to be American and Cuban. I enjoy being an inspiration for people, especially immigrants like my father who came to America looking for a better life. I even got my GED a few months ago to better myself outside the ring. I am living the American dream."