BEFORE his fight with Tom Howard last month at the LA Sports Arena, Jason Quigley chewed the cud in the dressing room with Bernard Hopkins.
Between 1994 and 2005, Hopkins was a world middleweight titlist. By unifying and defending his title a staggering 20 times, Hopkins broke new ground in the sport.
Hopkins is a minority partner in Golden Boy Promotions, the stable of Oscar De La Hoya to which Quigley is signed and regarded as its most promising prospect ahead of his eighth professional bout this Saturday in Indio.
These are the circles in which Quigley is now mixing (picture above courtesy of Peter Politanoff via Sheer Sports Management).
“If I tried to sit back and actually think about where I’ve come from and who I’m mixing with I’d be St Conal’s,” he told Donegal Sport Hub from his Marina del Rey base this week.
“I can’t really take the time to think about it because it’s so mind-blowing.
“I just take it in my flow and just keep trying to put on the performances and shows.
“It’s just amazing to be mixing it with these boys. Bernard Hopkins – ‘the executioner’ they used to call him – having him just in chilling with me before fights is amazing.
“That moment is great and you take it in and embrace it. You can’t stay in that moment though. There’s too much else to think about.”
This weekend, Quigley – who has a perfect seven inside-the-distance win on his card in his first year as a pro – meets Michael Faulk (3-2) at Fantasy Springs in a six-round contest.
The 30-year-old Minnesota southpaw has been out of action since defeating Jon Schmidt in January 2013 and comes in as something of an unknown quantity for Quigley.
The Ballybofey man said: “It’s very similar to my amateur days where I’m getting in not really knowing what’s going on.
“Every fight for me is a world title fight. Every fight that I win is just rising me up. I’m just moving up the ladder. Whatever his record is, whoever he is and whatever he is, I’m just doing the job.”
Quigley, under the tutelage of Manny Robles and Courage Tshabalala at the Rock Gym in Carson, is ready for battle having had world-class sparring.
Terrell Gausha, for instanace, was a 2012 Olympian and is the reigning USA middleweight champion. In London three years ago, he was beaten by Vijender Singh, the Indian defeated by Quigley on his way to a World silver medal in Kazakhstan in 2013.
Gabriel Rosado has a record of 21-9 and counts Gennady Golovkin among his previous opponents while Gilberto Ramírez is unbeaten in 32 contests.
Quigley said: “Sparring is at a high level and everyone I have been in with are well-rounded professionals.
“A lot of these boys have been at the Olympics and it’s only the beginning for me. The sparring will keep coming and this is one of the main reasons I’ve come to America.
“It’s not like in Europe where everyone tries their hand at amateur boxing. Everyone here gives the pro boxing a go and every gym has so many experienced professionals.”
Quigley was snapped up by De La Hoya in April 2014 after a stellar amateur career – and the Golden Boy chief has big plans for the unbeaten Donegal man.
Their relationship is closer than you might think.
On Quigley’s first visit to the Golden Boy offices, De La Hoya motioned to his belt-laden cabinet.
‘I want you to help me fill that one,’ he said, pointing to the middleweight shelf.
“That has been in my mind since,” said Quigley.
“Oscar is an absolute gentleman. He’s always there and always giving me wee bits of advice. He’s there for you whatever you need. He’s really hands on with his boxers, which makes it so great.
“He always takes time out to have a talk to you and asking how things are going, how training and sparring is going.
“You only have to look at what he went through in the sport. He’s been there and done it in boxing. He gives you great confidence.”Tags: