It's too late for the fight posters, but they should have named Saturday night's PBC on NBC card at Barclays Center "Weighty Issues." It was understood going in that the bout between 140-pound champions Danny Garcia (WBC & WBA) and Lamont Peterson (IBF) would be at a 143-pound catchweight with no titles on the line.
But Friday afternoon, the bout between WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee and former WBO champ Peter Quillin became a nontitle bout when Quillin failed to hit the 160-pound limit. Quillin came in at 161.4, and he still was 160.6 (9.6 ounces over the limit) when he reweighed later.
So, Lee keeps the title win or lose, which would create a very awkward situation in the middleweight division if he loses. Lee (33-2-1, 17 KOs) had to come from behind to score knockouts in his previous two fights, and he's facing an undefeated fighter in Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs). Earlier this week, Lee said that if he wins, he's willing to fight a unification bout against WBC-WBA champion Gennady Golovkin.
"If it's me who wins, then certainly, yeah," Lee said. "If not next, then the fight after. I want to fight the best. That was why I made the decision to fight Peter Quillin. Golovkin is the next step up."
Although no titles are on the line at this point, Saturday night's card promises two wonderful matchups in the co-main events plus an undercard littered with quality fighters such as a super-lightweight bout between Felix Diaz (16-0, 8 KOs) and Gabriel Bracero (23-1, 4 KOs); former Olympic welterweight Errol Spence Jr. (15-0, 12 KOs) against Samuel Vargas (20-1-1, 10 KOs)' Staten Island Olympian Marcus Browne (13-0, 10 KOs) fighting a light heavyweight bout against Aaron Pryor Jr. (19-7-1, 12 KOs) and Ukrainian super lightweight contender Viktor Postol (26-0, 11 KOs) against Jake Giuriceo (17-2-1, 4 KOs).
The Lee-Quillin bout is the first of the co-mains on the PBC on NBC program, which begins at 8:30 p.m. (Afterg the bout between Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) and Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs), the show shifts to NBCSN cable network).
Quillin, who adopted his "Kid Chocolate" nickname in honor of his Cuban father, who idolized the great Cuban boxer who fought under that name in the 1920s and 1930s, vacated the WBO title after successfully defending it for the third time a year ago. Bowing to the control of promoter Al Haymon, Quillin turned down a career-high purse of $1.4 million to fight Matt Korobov after Roc Nation won the purse bid.
The southpaw Lee, who was trailing on all cards after five rounds, stopped Korobov in the sixth with a power right hand that set up his winning barrage last December. Lee's short right also resulted in a fifth-round KO of John Jackson last June when Lee was behind on all cards.
"It strengthens your resolve and makes you believe that, if you're behind at any time, you've always got a chance at winning," Lee said of his last two wins. "This time, I plan to lead from the first."
Lee credits Quillin with being an athletic boxer with good speed and power, but he believes the combination of his own ring generalship and his power will produce a win.
"I think I have a lot more idea of what I'm doing in the ring, where he goes from moment to moment, it seems to me," Lee said of Quillen. "He reacts in the moment. I'm more of a guy who sets you up. works to a plan."
Quillin agreed with Lee's assessment of his ring approach. "Yes, I'm a very instinctive fighter," Quillin said. "I'm definitely that. I always label myself 'animal status' because I just react to what other people do."
Although Quillin said he is prepared for Lee's southpaw style and is wary of Lee's powerful right hook, that's the extent of any game plan. "I'm able to readjust and come out with a victory every time," Quillin said. "I'm 31-0. According to that, only good things can happen."
Missing the weight and a shot to regain his WBO middleweight title was a mistake by Quillin, but it won't matter if he remains undefeated.