Peter Quillin takes aim at title shot
LAS VEGAS -- How desperate is Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin to get a shot at a middleweight title? He said at Thursday's final news conference that he would fight his own mother if she had a 160-pound belt.
Quillin wasn't fighting for a title, or fighting his mom, but he rolled past late substitute Jason LeHoullier as he worked toward his ultimate goal Saturday night on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Zab Judah junior welterweight title unification fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Quillin (25-0, 19 KOs) laid a beating on LeHoullier, hitting him cleanly with both hands throughout the fight. Although there were no knockdowns, LeHoullier (21-6-1, 8 KOs) was outclassed.
In the fifth round, Quillin had tagged him with several shots and LeHoullier's face was swelling before his corner threw in the towel, causing referee Robert Byrd to call it off at 1 minute, 38 seconds.
"He was very tough but he didn't want to go down," Quillin said. "The fight was very good for me and now I want the best. I want any of the champions. I want everyone."
Quillin's next fight could come Sept. 17 on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz undercard at the MGM Grand.
Quillin, 28, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was coming off his biggest win, a third-round knockout of former "Contender" star and super middleweight title challenger Jesse Brinkley in April. Quillin was due for another step up in competition against fringe contender Tarvis Simms, but Simms withdrew two weeks ago because he fractured a rib in training. That left LeHoullier, of Dover, N.H., to take the fight on short notice.
Kirkland rolls to second-round knockout
Austin, Texas, middleweight James Kirkland continued his comeback from a shocking first-round knockout loss in April to score three knockdowns of Alexis Hloros (15-4-2, 11 KOs) en route to a second-round knockout.
Kirkland (29-1, 26 KOs) came out with his usual aggression looking to mix it up immediately and scored two knockdowns in the opening round. First, Hloros went down during a flurry and then he took a knee during another stream of punches.
Referee Russell Mora was close to stopping it but allowed Hloros to finish the round. Kirkland was relentless with his attack and dropped Hloros again 25 seconds into the second round, and Mora called it off.
"I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible. I feel great," Kirkland said. "He didn't hurt me at all. He connected with a couple of punches, but I was fine."
Kirkland, once one of the hottest rising junior middleweights in the world before an 18-month prison stint knocked his career off track, is trying to rebound from a stunning first-round knockout loss to unheralded Nobuhiro Ishida. The fight with Ishida was Kirkland's third since his prison release and a win would have paved the way to a possible fall title shot against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
The victory over Hloros, of Mt. Clemens, Mich., was Kirkland's second in a row since Ishida dropped him three times. After the loss, Kirkland split with trainer Kenny Adams and reunited with Ann Wolfe. Kirkland and Wolfe had broken up after Kirkland went to prison.
Kirkland is still very wild with his punches in the ring, which is something Wolfe is trying to rein in.
"He needs to calm down," she said.
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… Featherweight Gary Russell Jr. (17-0, 10 KOs), with his rapid-fire combinations and punishing body attack, worked over helpless Eric Estrada (9-2, 3 KOs) for a shutout eight-round decision. All three judges had it 80-71 for Russell, who was credited with a seventh-round knockdown when Chicago's Estrada touched a glove to the canvas.
Russell, 23, of Capital Heights, Md., who was a 2008 U.S. Olympian and is one of the top prospects in boxing, was originally supposed to appear live on the HBO telecast, but when the network and Golden Boy Promotions could not agree on an opponent, he wound up deeper on the undercard and not televised.
… Philadelphia heavyweight Bryant Jennings (9-0, 4 KOs) made it 2-for-2 against Chicago's Theron Johnson (5-6, 1 KO) as he cruised to a unanimous decision in a rematch of his lopsided six-round decision in February. Jennings dropped Johnson in the fourth round and scored a near-shutout, 60-53, 60-53 and 59-54 on the scorecards.
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… Junior lightweight Ronny Rios (15-0, 7 KOs), a 21-year-old Golden Boy prospect from Santa Ana, Calif., blew out Noe Lopez (8-9, 5 KOs) of Nogales, Texas, in the first round. Rios, who was a National Golden Gloves champion and two-time U.S. national amateur champion, dropped Lopez twice, both times with body shots, before referee Joe Cortez called off the fight at 1 minute, 12 seconds.
… Brooklyn, N.Y., super middleweight Josiah Judah (10-1-1, 2 KOs), Zab Judah's younger brother, struggled to a majority decision against Poland's Rafal Jastrzebski (4-7-1, 1 KO). The judges had 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57.
… Lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (8-0, 3 KOs), who is trained by Freddie Roach, thoroughly outboxed Marcos Herrera (6-6-1, 2 KOs) for a 60-54, 60-53, 59-54 unanimous decision.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
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