QUILIN & LEE DRAW, GARCIA EDGES PETERSON
By TOM WATT on April 13 2015
This last weekend saw the third run out of Al Haymon’s new Premier Boxing Champions series, two eagerly anticipated fights headlined with the bill and after the successful debut featuring Robert Guerrero, Keith Thurman & Adrien Broner and an action packed second installment in Quebec a fortnight ago where Adonis Stevenson defeated Aussie, Sakio Bika for the WBC Light-Heavyweight crown, fans were expecting another great night courtesy of Al Haymon.
In terms of the quality of fights they were not disappointed, Andy Lee defended his WBO against Peter ‘Kid Chocolate’ Quillin (who had previously vacated the title, allowing Lee to fight Matt Korobov) in a very close fight that ended in a split draw and in the Main Event, Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson battled it out to the final bell, with the former taking a very controversial win. Unfortunately, it is the controversy around the second fight that will stick in the memory and not the quality of boxing on show. This is a problem Boxing has always faced and the fact it has happened in such a high-profile event on terrestrial TV makes it even harder to swallow as a fan of the sport that wants to see it grow.
Premier Boxing Champions has been heralded far and wide in the Boxing fraternity as a way to bring the sport to a wider audience, those that wouldn’t necessarily dig into their pockets for a PPV card or a ticket to a show. The Main Event between Guerrero and Thurman was a fantastic example of how good the sport can be, the emotions it can bring up and the respect for both fighters for what they do, it was a fantastic debut for PBC and everyone was looking forward to another great night this weekend. However, the single most common criticism I hear from fans outside of Boxing is that it is corrupt, that there are fighters out there that get the win when they shouldn’t and that cheapens not only the Title Belts these ‘Champions’ hold but the sport in general.
As the bell sounded for the final time in the Co-Main event between Irish traveller, Andy Lee and Brooklyn-born Peter Quillin, it was touch and go as to where the judges would side. Lee was down hard in the second round but fought back well to take the latter half of the fight and in my opinion, won the last 6 rounds easily. However, It’s always hard to score these kind of fights and I probably wouldn’t of complained had either man got the nod. As it was, the judges agreed – one scored for Lee 113-112, one for Quilin, 113-112 and the final judge saw it a draw 113-113, this meant a Split-Draw that would see Lee retain his title, a title he will now defend against fellow traveller, Billy Joe-Saunders (who had stepped aside to allow this fight to happen).
‘Kid Chocolate’ will probably feel he had done enough and will no doubt feel hard done by with this result, he had his man down and had he pressed the action he probably could have put him away in those early rounds but having seen what Lee’s heavy hands had done to Korobov, Quilin was to hesitant to put himself at risk and those risk-averse tactics have ultimately cost him the Title he had previously vacated. As it stood, Lee walked in as Champion and left as Champion, setting up the first ever World Title fight between two travellers later this summer.
Following this fight was probably the highest profile fight on any PBC card so far, Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson, two of the biggest names in the sport and two Junior Welterweight World Champions. The first hint of controversy came when this fight was announced at a catch-weight 3 pounds above the 140 limit of Junior Welterweight, meaning that instead of a unification fight, nobody’s titles were on the line (although Peterson will now be stripped of his IBF belt). As the fight got underway we began to see how it would unravel, Garcia moving forwards and trying to close down Peterson with the latter sitting behind an efficient and accurate jab as he moved cleverly around the ring. Garcia certainly took the early rounds in the eyes of the judges but as the rounds wore on, Peterson was more and more effective at range and began showboating against the lineal WBC Champion.
Garcia was certainly the aggressor throughout the fight but there can be no denying who was doing the more effective and clean work, one look at the fighters at the end of the fight could tell you that story. Obviously, different judges will favour certain styles and give more credence to aggression over style or ring control over work-rate, and to be fair to the judges they all saw it very close, with all 3 giving at least 5 of the first 6 rounds to Garcia. However, the fans at ring-side were not impressed and neither were the fans at home.
After the fight Garcia appeared to admit to Peterson that he lost the fight although in his post-fight comments he has said that whilst he admitted it was close “I feel I won the fight, I was the only one that came to fight”. Peterson was gracious in defeat and said he will be back to fight again so the question everybody was asking was whether we’d see these two square off again in a rematch.
Both fighters have said they will look at moving up to the Welterweight division now, having both struggled with the Junior Welter limit of 140 pounds. A rematch between the pair would be an easy sell and I am sure both would like a chance to put right what they feel went wrong this past weekend. However, the Welterweight division is packed full of talent so the chances are that one or the other could be tempted in an another direction. Amir Khan, who lost by KO to Garcia and was robbed on points against Peterson would no doubt love an opportunity to avenge his losses to the pair and that is just the tip of the iceberg, beyond Khan the Welterweight division offers fighters like Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Tim Bradley, Brandon Rios and Juan Manuel Marquez – not to mention Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
Premier Boxing Champions is back on the 24th of April in Illinois as Anthony Dirrell takes on Money Team fighter, Badou Jack and Daniel Jacobs takes on the rugged Caleb Truax on Spike TV (US).
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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