This Saturday at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, newly crowned WBO champ Andy Lee will defend his title against Peter Quillin. This is an entertaining middleweight scrap, with a well documented story on how these fighters came to meet, and will be broadcast on NBC by Premier Boxing Champions.
Quillin (31-0, 22 KO) declined a fight with Matt Koborov, vacating his WBO title, then Lee (34-2, 24 KO) took possession of that title with a TKO victory against Koborov in December.
Quillin revealed personal reasons for vacating the title- the birth of his first child, Joaquin and the painful loss of his uncle Eric. Such emotional decisions can raise eyebrows in boxing, and suggest a mindset not tuned to training or winning. Pre fight press reports have Quillin insisting these events have increased his desire to win and reclaim the title. Lee is equally determined he’s leaving Barclays still a champion. Combine the human interest angle Quillin brings to the fight and the mindset of both fighters- that neither is going to give an inch, this gives boxing fans and NBC viewers much to look forward to.
Andy Lee hammered out his KO win over Koborov when he was behind in the fight. This makes him confident, and a dangerous match for Quillin, who is coming off close to a year long layoff. Lee needs to take the initiative without being careless, and being the taller fighter will help. He can keep Quillin at bay, giving him time to set up power shots that could end the evening and garner him a huge upset win. Distance also provides a good defense for Lee, who can’t be tempted to trade in a reckless fashion with Quillin, who has power in both hands and has the edge in speed.
Going into Saturday’s bout, Quillin needs to shine. There can be no lackluster performance like his last outing against Lukas Konecny. Barclays will be filled with a huge local crowd expecting to see him take the title. Quillin should be the aggressor, and not be content to evade any of Lee’s aggression. Forcing the action to his favor by battling back when Lee comes forward with heavy shots, and applying pressure can cause Lee to make mistakes which could put Quillin in a position to score knockdowns, reach a unanimous decision or get the knock out.