Peter Quillin didn’t have an easy road to get to where he’s at in life.
He was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., raised primarily by his mother because his father was in and out of prison in Cuba, his father’s home country. He has three brothers and one sister who live in Cuba, and two brothers who still live in Michigan.
Growing up, Quillin and his two brothers in Michigan would cause all types of trouble while his mother was out working three jobs to make ends meet. The trouble, according to the former WBO middleweight champion, who returns on Saturday night in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions event against J’Leon Love (7:30 p.m. ET, Fox), included selling crack cocaine as a teenager.
“If you asked me that when I was 15 or 17, I would probably say that I would be a drug dealer,” Quillin admitted to Sporting News. “I say if I wasn’t boxing, with the mind I have now, I could have done whatever I put my mind too. I could have been the veterinarian that I wanted to be when I was a kid. I also wanted to be a chef. Those jobs got farther away from me because growing up the way I did, it was not something that could be realistic in my life.”
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Boxing may saved Quillin’s life, but it didn’t come with instant success.
He saved up a couple hundred dollars and, along with his trainer, took a bus to New York City with the goal to train among the best in boxing. Quillin had a rough going early on. He worked three jobs and slept at flophouses, homeless shelters and friends’ floors.
Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KOs) turned pro in 2005. Seven years later, in Oct. 2012, he realized his dream when he defeated Hassan N’Dam to become the WBO champ. He made three title defenses before getting stripped of the the title before his fight with Andy Lee in April 2015 because he failed to make weight.
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Then, the former champ practically vanished into thin air from the world of boxing. He’s only fought twice since the Lee fight, going 1-1. When asked why he’s been so infrequent in the ring, all Quillin would say is that he needed to get the into right training situation and build his relationship with God.
“There was another plan God had in store for me,” Quillin said. “He chose me for a special plan that I can say now where I’m at now.”
The 35-year-old’s journey has been a roller coaster, and he isn’t afraid to admit that. With two kids and his wife of nine years by his side, “Kid Chocolate” is ready to embark on the second part of his boxing career, which begins this weekend vs. Love.
“I win by however J’Leon wants to lose,” Quillin said. “If he decides he wants to get knocked out then he’s going to get knocked out. If he wants to put in those hard rounds of boxing with me and try to outclass me, so be it. This fight is like a 70-30 fight to me. He does have a percentage to win because every punch can end the fight. Where I am at with my mentality, experience and wisdom is more than enough for the victory to be mine.”
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