Middleweight contender "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., but he closely identifies with Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived for several years. He still considers it a second home, even though he now splits his time between Los Angeles (where he trains) and Manhattan.
So when Quillin found out from promoter Golden Boy that he would fight on the inaugural card at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Oct. 20, he could not have been more pumped.
"Fighting on this card is bigger to me than the actual money I can make in the fight," Quillin said when we spoke Wednesday night. "Being part of this is a blessing. I'm gonna be super-ready. This will be a showcase for my talent. I'm an animal right now, I've been training so hard for this."
Quillin, who easily outpointed Winky Wright in June and sent him into retirement, will fight in the opening bout of a Showtime tripleheader.
The card will also include a rematch between unified junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs) of Philadelphia and former titleholder Erik Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) of Mexico in the main event, with welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs) -- who is from Brooklyn -- defending against Mexico's Pablo Cesar Cano (25-1-1, 19 KOs) in the co-feature.
The 29-year-old Quillin (27-0, 20 KOs) doesn't yet have an opponent, but Golden Boy and Showtime are hoping to get him some sort of world title bout. Of the various fighters who hold versions of a middleweight title, the only one seemingly available is France's Hassan N'Dam (27-0, 17 KOs), who holds an interim belt. One opponent who had been mentioned as a possibility was former title challenger Marco Antonio Rubio, but Showtime has already said he won't be Quillin's opponent.
Although Quillin would like to fight for a world title, he said it makes no difference to him who is standing across the ring from him on fight night.
"I know for sure I'm on the card, I just don't know against who," Quillin said. "But whoever it is, he is in big trouble because I'm preparing for King Kong. I don't care who they bring."
It will be Quillin's first bout in New York City since he won a 10-round decision against Dionisio Miranda in June 2008. The homecoming has been a long time coming.
"Brooklyn took a liking to me, and I'm always in debt to Brooklyn because [I'm not] from there, but I have a lot of friends who are living in Brooklyn and I spent a lot of time there and learned a lot there. I'm a fighter with two hometowns: Grand Rapids, of course, but I've lived in New York City for over 11 years; a lot of that time was spent in Brooklyn. I took a special liking to Brooklyn.
"When I heard this card was going to be in Brooklyn, I knew I had to be on it. It's been awhile since I fought in Brooklyn, but I've got fans there and this card will be part of history. Of course, I want my name tied to that."