Battle in Brooklyn: Peter Quillin vs. Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam
There were four big fights at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last night: Danny Garcia vs. Erik Morales II, Paulie Malignaggi vs. Pablo Cesar Cano, Peter Quillin vs. Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam, and Randall Bailey vs. Devon Alexander. The best fight on that card, hands down, was Quillin-N'Dam.
On paper, this match was as great as it gets. Both men are in the top 10 of the Middleweight division as darkhorses. Both men compiled similar records of 27-0. While Quillin was two inches taller at 6'1", they both had similar reaches.
The difference between the two was stylistic. Quillin is a puncher who can box; N'Dam is a boxer who can punch. This difference was a big punctuation mark on the fight that was to occur.
Out of the gate, N'Dam showed why he had the goods. Using tremendous handspeed and lateral movement, N'Dam was befuddling Quillin in the ring for the first four rounds. Quillin didn't look like he was able to find his rhythm at all while N'Dam was peppering Quillin with quick combos before getting out of range.
Then in Rd 4, everything changed. Right at the opening bell of the round, Quillin floored N'Dam. He went down hard. Yet N'Dam, showing supreme ballsiness, got up. Later in the round, N'Dam got knocked down again by Quillin's hard hammer of a fist. Once again, he went down hard but got up.
Most boxers when faced in this situation would simply get on their bicycle for the rest of the fight. But not N'Dam. After he went down, he got up, and he fought not just to survive but to win.
But would he be caught again by Quillin? Yes.
In Rd 6, Quillin caught N'Dam, and N'Dam went down — twice. Once again, it looked like it was only a matter of time before Quillin would have N'Dam out of there.
But that's not what happened. After Rd. 6, N'Dam showed balls of steel, got up, and fought to win.
In fact, between Rds. 7-11, N'Dam was showing himself to be the clear superior to Quillin in every respect except concerning power. If you hadn't seen Rds 4 and 6, you would think this was N'Dam's fight. By Rd 11, most people though N'Dam might have what it takes to win this.
In Rd 12, Quillin managed to do what he did in Rds 4 and 6. Hammering N'Dam with hooks, N'Dam went down twice more in the final round.
If not for being knocked down twice in the final round, N'Dam might have won this. But credit goes to Quillin who, while not being able to outbox N'Dam, showed that he was able to outpunch him. That was enough for Quillin to win this clearly over N'Dam.
The Middleweight division has suddenly become more intriguing. Sergio Martinez is still the man in the division, Daniel Geale holds the WBA and IBF belts, and Gennady Golovkin looks to have the goods. Let's not forget Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Yes, Chavez Jr. did lose to Martinez, but he's still a threat — as the final round in Martinez-Chavez Jr. showed.
Well, add Quillin to the list of really bad dudes who are making the Middleweight division that much more glamourous.