It was the night of July 12, 2014, after a winning debut, when Jason Quigley was given his first glimpse of the future.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Erislandy Lara were headlining at the MGM in Las Vegas.
Quigley, snapped up by Golden Boy Promotions just three months earlier as a talented prospect, was given a debut bout on the undercard.
A debut here in that legendary mecca of boxing was already the stuff of dreams.
He stopped Howard Reece in just 82 seconds and it got even better.
“It was great to be on the biggest stage – I’m here to let the American people know who Jason Quigley is,” he sad afterwards, remarking that he was ‘absolutely buzzing’.
The Thursday beforehand, Oscar De La Hoya – a ten-time world champion in his day – had told a Las Vegas news conference that he’d ‘know in the first minute of the fight how fast we’re going to move Quigley’.
The answer, clearly, was that De La Hoya had found a gem. Quigley went just 22 seconds beyond that first minute.
Backstage, Rachel Charles – the VP of Operations and Publicity at Sheer Sports Management, who also grabbed the Ballybofey man’s signature – ushered Quigley into the pressroom.
The circus was in full flow as writers and reporters looked for a piece of ‘Canelo’, who’d just won by a split decision.
Birmingham-born Charles is a veteran of the sweet science in Los Angeles and counts Wayne ‘Pocket Rocket’ McCullough among those to have been on her portfolio.
Charles reckons that ‘there were about seven people including the cleaners’ in the MGM when Quigley stopped Howard.
And yet that night, she gave her newest prospect an insight.
“I took him into the press room and he saw what was involved,” she says.
“I told him: ‘This is you. This is your future’.”
That future for Jason Quigley is now the present.
Raised on a diet of boxing, the 25-year-old – who attended school just one day a week in his later years at St Columba’s in Stranorlar – to concentrate on his chosen career – is the face of the billboards in Indio this week.
Golden Boy Promotions have chosen Quigley to headline the first in their ‘Golden Boy on ESPN’ series.
Of all the fighters in their stable, Quigley is the man they’ve turned to.
That is no coincidence.
He faces off with the experienced, yet unconvincing Glen Tapia. The reward on offer is huge: The NABF middleweight title.
The baking heat of the Colorado Desert is far removed from the chills of Barnesmore, where Quigley often trekked as a boy for training.
But it is here, at the plush Fantasy Springs Resort where Quigley looks to put his name up in lights.
It is here, in a casino owned by the Cabazon Tribe of Native Indians, where Quigley will roll the dice, watched now closer than ever by De La Hoya, who will be at ringside.
The former World Champion says he is excited by what the sport has to offer in 2017.
Partly, or perhaps largely, that is down to the Irishman they’ve dubbed ‘El Animal’ around Tinseltown.
De La Hoya has high hopes for Quigley.
Already in his 12-fight career, Quigley has often been name-checked by De La Hoya at press conferences.
‘Jason, stand up so these people can see you,’ De La Hoya would beckon.
Those watching would wonder: ‘Who?’ but De La Hoya’s words would sooth their scepticism.
De La Hoya was another to have given Quigley a gaze into the crystal ball.
On the day he signed him, on a five-year deal, in 2014, De La Hoya told Quigley that he’d be world champion one day and the ‘Golden Boy’ had big plans from those early days for his new asset.
De La Hoya once told Quigley that he’d ‘help fill’ the gap in his cabinet where the middleweight strap should rest.
The week before that debut against Reece, De La Hoya took to the podium and urged the boxing media present to keep an eye on Quigley, ‘a fighter you really want to watch in his progression’.
For Jason Quigley, that future is now – and the time is now.Tags: