Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani - The original ďKid ChocolateĒ, Eligio SardiŮas, was the first Cuban champion in boxing history. Today the ďKid ChocolateĒ name lives on in the form of undefeated middleweight prospect Peter Quillin. Best known for his spectacular knockout power, the undefeated 26 year old pugilist has an unblemished record in twenty contests with fifteen of those victories coming by way of knockout. I was recently afforded the opportunity to have a nice chat with the young fighter, and here is what he had to say:
Q: Pete, you last fought on September 17 of last year which means this is the longest layoff youíve had in your career. Why the long layoff?
A: I had hand surgery on my hand. I had a fracture on my thumb I sustained and I got surgery on January 28. I had to sit out and they were trying to make sure I had the best rehab and the best recovery that I could get. I was going through that and I started training once my cast came off and they had a fight scheduled for me just recently and I sustained another injuryóa fracture to my orbital bone. Thatís why thereís been such a layoff. It was only due to injury, not due to management problems or promotional problems or none of that..
Q: How are all these injuries doing? Is everything healed up?
A: Yeah, everything is healed up. Iíve been cleared to spar and do all that. Iíve been training, and Iím set to fight on November 12 here in New York City.
Q: Great, and how are your training and preparations going for that?
A: The preparation is always 100%. I put all my heart to my dedication in it. I got all my love into boxing so itís always what I get out of training. I want the best for myself so I try to get the best out of training.
Q: Do you have any idea who you will be fighting in November?
A: Not at all. It was supposed to be Jose Spearman. You know, just something to get here and shake off the dust and shake off the rust off of myself. For the most part Iím not even sure as of now, but they told me I should know in another week. Iím just going to be more mentally prepared and more conditioned, trained, and the guy Iím definitely going to bring it unless heís always training like me.
Q: What area of your game do you think you can make the most improvements in right now?
A: Everyday is a learning experience, so itís really not much that I can learn. Iím phenomenal as an athlete. Itís just about how I want to ask more from my training. I want to learn more about running, I want to learn about cardiovascular, I want to learn about things like that. Thatís really all it is. I know how to fight already, so thereís not really much I can do there to improve myself anymore besides just being more mentally prepared than anybody else can be.
Q: Do you have any specific goals coming up for your fight in November, for starters, but also for the upcoming year 2010?
A: Fight for the title! I want to fight one more fight and then I just want to get put into a big fight. Top ten, I want to fight somebody in the top ten. I donít care if itís Giovanni Lorenzoóhe ainít even, actually I shouldnít have even brought him up. Sebastian Sylvester would be a good fight for me, John Duddy, I donít care, whoever man. I just want to be put right there in a spot and I want to beat some of these good guys and show somebody that Iím better than all those guys that they put me up there against. Iím bringing heart, Iím bringing my dedication, Iím bringing everything that Iíve been through in my life into the ring with me just to show that Iím trying to be better and Iím trying to be the best.
Q: Now when I last had the chance to speak to you on the On the Ropes Boxing Radio Program, I believe you actually went so far as to claim you think you would be ready for a fight against title holder Kelly Pavlik within a yearís time. Do you still feel that way?
A: Yeah, I still feel that way. Kelly Pavlik ainít Superman, you know? Heís not nobody spectacular. Heís not a Tommy Hearns, heís not one of those guys. Why havenít these guys unified the belts? Why Felix Sturm has not fought Kelly Pavlik, why has Kelly Pavlik not fought Felix Sturm? Why has nobody tried so hard to unify the belts? Back in the day, you remember when they used to do that Geoff. For the most part, Iím not scared of none of these guys. I just think it should be another force, especially in the middleweight division, to show them some different styles that is willing to come in and fight. Iím willing to fight anybody, the toughest opponent, whoever, because thatís what brings the fans into boxingóputting on those kind of great fights. Back in the day when you used to lose a fight and you used to fight tough, you used to keep your fans. These boxers are not even keeping any fans because they donít come in well conditioned and theyíre not doing everything they need to do to keep their fans.
Q: Since weíre on Kelly Pavlik, what do you think of the upcoming fight between Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams?
A: I think Paul Williams is not going to win. Unless Kelly Pavlik is not on his game like he should be, I see Kelly Pavlik winning that fight because he walks around as a middleweight, man. Heís a full-fledged middleweight. Iím a middleweight, and I cannot even make 147 pounds, so that middleweight class is dangerous. Not only can we be fast, but you can also punch. We can punch very hard. Unless Kelly Pavlik donít come well conditioned, and usually he comes with his heart and he comes to fight, but I donít see Paul Williams got a knockout punch to knock him out. I donít see that.
Q: I was wondering if you could tell the fans a little bit about how you first started using the nickname ďKid ChocolateĒ?
A: ďKid ChocolateĒ came to me when I was in my home town in Grand Rapid, Michigan, and a Puerto Rican trainer that I used to train with at a local gym that I was pretty cool with said, ďYouíre Cuban, right?Ē I told him yes, and he said, ďYou kind of favor this guy Kid ChocolateĒ. I said, well, you know, okay. He said, ďMaybe you should take on that nameĒ. I didnít want to take on that name. Iím from the hood, I was like ďNah, thatís not the name that I want to be known asĒ. So I called myself ďKid Coa-CoaĒ, instead. Then I looked up this ďKid ChocolateĒ original, and I had seen so much history behind this guy. You already followed people like Sugar Ray Leonard, or Sugar Shane Mosley, or the name ďSugarĒ. So I thought about keeping the name ďKid ChocolateĒ. I said ďSugarĒ or ďThe HitmanĒ, so I just thought about keeping that name alive. Not only am I half Cuban, but Eligio SardiŮas, which was the original ďKid ChocolateĒ, he brought something different to the game. He brought this unique style and thatís kind of what I do.
Q: Itís funny you mention that, because I actually had the chance to speak with both Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Shane Mosley fairly recently, and when I spoke to Sugar Ray Leonard I asked him about the nickname and people who have used the nickname like Ray Robinson before him and Sugar Shane after him and he had said of Shane Mosley that he had carried the torch well on the ďSugarĒ name. How do you think you will carry the torch on the ďKid ChocolateĒ name?
A: Well, I bring the fans. Kid Chocolate had a big fan base here in New York City and I got a big fan base here in New York City. Not only do I got a big fan base but I can also fight and I also come up in there with the old spirit of an old fighter, and thatís what Iím try to bring back. Iím trying to bring back that old imagery of the old fighters and the old class and just try to bring something new with my own little spice. I want to carry it and I want to let people know that, for the most part, I know thatís a big shoe to fill. Iím not saying that Iím trying to fill the show, but Iím just trying to let people know that Iím coming to fight my best and Iím going to keep that name alive and let people know, and let myself be a reminder to eople, that there are great fighters before me who I really respect.
Q: You also have a unique ritual you do before the games where you throw out candy chocolates into the audience. Can you tell us when that first started happening?
A: Working in Trinity Boxing Club downtown Manhattan I had a couple of friends that suggested for me to do that as a joke, and Iím kind of a crazy guy and I thought it would be a good idea. What kind of lasting impression could you put on somebody? I have a kind of gimmick that everyone can remember you as. Maybe they donít remember me as Peter Quillin or Kid Chocolate, but they will always remember me as the guy who threw the chocolate out. As I did that, it just got bigger and bigger and people came to expect chocolate at every fight that I fought.
Q: Now Pete, before I let you go, do you have anything else you would like to say to all the fans out at East Side Boxing?
A: I want to thank East Side Boxing for covering the latest and greatest on me. I want to thank all of my fans for following me. I will be back to see you people real soon, because Iím on-line. Iím in charge of my MySpace, my Facebook, Iím on Twitter, Iím going to start doing webisodes. I met with a good friend of mine and weíre going to be putting out webisodes every week so you all can see me just training or catching a glimpse of what I do. For the most part I just want to thank every friend of boxing thatís been a diehard friend of boxing, because thatís the reason why I do this. I have no other reason why to do this besides to be the best that I can be and I want to thank all those people that support meóall my friends, all my family, and all my fans, of course. And thank you, especially, Geoff for reaching out to me on Facebook. It shows that the internet is a powerful tool to reach out to people and actually get to people and we can meet up. You can get your job done and I can get my exposure that we need. Itís a two way street.
I would like to thank Peter Quillin for his time and wish him the best of luck in his return to the ring on November 12.