"I think we could be casual. With me and Daniel though, I didn't get a call from him wishing me and my family a Happy Thanksgiving. So when you say friends, how much do you consider a person a friend? I consider us associates...My wife went to their kid's birthday party, but they didn't come to my kid's birthday, so how much could I consider him a friend...He's obviously a tough guy. He's someone who struggled with something that I haven't struggled with, which is cancer. You can only expect for him to come in and fight with that every single time he fights. I expect a tough fight. I expect a determined fight. It's about me being smart and dedicated to what I do," stated former world champion Peter Quillin, who talked about his upcoming clash with middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs. Check it out!
PC: It's fight week my man. You took your camp out to Miami. How has it been?
PQ: It's been wonderful; wonderful! I'm blessed to be here. I want to say one thing before we get too far into this interview. I want to say rest in peace to O'Neil Bell. He just passed away and it's a sad story, but that's the way it is. You never know when or how we are going to die. It's about what did we do to impact other people's lives before we go.
PC: Were you close with O'Neil or just respected him and his accomplishments as a fighter?
PQ: My friend was cool with him and he used to always talk about him. I used to enjoy watching him fight. You become a fan of people, especially a black guy in America who made a name for himself.
PC: Good stuff, man. Going back to you and your fight, was it more of getting out of your comfort zone in New York and going to Miami? Why move this particular camp?
PQ: Honestly, I just thought about being in nice weather and being in a place where everything was accessible to me, like a gym and having the right things around me to be able to train. A lot of different things played a factor in me going to Miami, including being around my Cuban people, and having them around me and with me is a blessing.
PC: I think the perception of this fight is this is two really good friends fighting. Is that the case or are you two guys just from the same area and people took that as you guys being good friends? How would you describe your relationship with Daniel Jacobs?
PQ: I would never fight against my best friend. Would you fight your friend?
PC: If the money was right, absolutely because at the end of the day, we are both trying to feed families. But that's me. I wouldn't expect everyone's answer to be the same.
PQ: Yeah, but at the end of the day, you have to understand that money can't buy you the things that you want. There are other ways for you to provide for your family without jeopardizing relationships with people. What good does it do for a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
PC: But I think if we both chose to be in a competitive sport and just so happen to weigh the same weight, it's a sport and it's part of it. I would hate to lose a friend over a sport, but I would also think there would be some understanding that it's just that, a sport. I have never been a fighter, but I have played physical sports, such as football, against good friends where we were trying to inflict pain and it was all good after the game was over. You don't think you could remain friends with someone you had to fight?
PQ: I think we could be casual. With me and Daniel though, I didn't get a call from him wishing me and my family a Happy Thanksgiving. So when you say friends, how much do you consider a person a friend? I consider us associates. More like when you bump into a person and say, "Hey, what's up? How are you doing?" My wife went to their kid's birthday party, but they didn't come to my kid's birthday, so how much could I consider him a friend?
PC: Is it tough for you to train through the holidays? Obviously you will have Christmas, but you have been training throughout the Thanksgiving holidays.
PQ: I've been a boxer for a long time and this is a part of my lifestyle. You know, growing up struggling, man, holidays were hard anyway, so it was a matter of getting through the holidays more than anything. It was nothing special when we were younger because it wasn't always the best. Now, as a father, it's a sacrifice that I make because I have a family now and it's rough because I'm playing both sides of the fence now. My wife was able to come down here and spend some time with me and her family and she knows the lifestyle that I have to live. With that being said, it's just part of my life right now.
PC: In my opinion, you guys have the toughest job in the world. Does becoming a fighter ever get easier? Do you ever think, "Okay, I have this thing down pat now?" Or is it always a grind to be a fighter?
PQ: I think it depends on where you're at in your career. I'm at the top of the heap, so I get a lot more flack than a lot of other fighters get to have. People are constantly watching you and criticizing everything that you do. I think the hardest part to me is being criticized for being who you are and what you're doing and why you are doing it. Nobody will understand why you do the things that you do, so I look at it like that and I just try to stay focused. I look at the overall picture of everything and stay focused on that.
PC: The big picture of all of this is the fact that you are headlining in the Barclays Center. I'm sure that's a dream come true in itself.
PQ: I look at it like this, it's just part of my story, man. I honestly don't sit around and think about this all of the time. It all stems from hard work, so I just focus on the work. It is a tremendous feeling to be headlining in Barclays though. I don't get lost in the feeling though because I know what got me here and I try to stay focused on that part.
PC: A lot of people wanted to see this fight a year or so ago, maybe even longer. Fights like this take a little bit of time to build. Do you feel like this is the perfect time for this fight to happen?
PQ: Yes, of course this is the perfect time. What we know is now we can't look towards the future, so we are here now and we can't avoid that.
PC: Do you think in some situations fans get too antsy and want to see things now without any build up or anticipation for some of these fights to happen?
PQ: To be honest with you, and not to offend anyone, but I don't think like a fan. I think like a boxer. When I say I think like a boxer, it just means I'm staying focused on my work and why you are doing it. Everybody has a reason for why they do the things that they do. People always have a lot to say, but to find out why you are doing something, you have to dig deep down in yourself and find answers. Our job is to work as hard as we can and always go through the obstacles that are placed in front of us. It's a whole different mentality. And when you talk to a fighter like me, you see where I pull my strength from and my reasoning for the things that I do. I don't expect the fans to know the reason why or even expect them to understand why I do what I do. Sometimes it's not for everyone to understand.
PC: What type of fight are you expecting on Saturday night from Jacobs?
PQ: He's obviously a tough guy. He's someone who struggled with something that I haven't struggled with, which is cancer. You can only expect for him to come in and fight with that every single time he fights. I expect a tough fight. I expect a determined fight. It's about me being smart and dedicated to what I do. Not to compare my story to a cancer story, because it is a wonderful story to be able to overcome those challenges, but I also have my own story with cancer. I watched my uncle pass away from cancer. He was the most significant thing I had in my life at the time and my biggest support system. I got to see him lose his life from cancer and I fight with that as well. I'm blessed to be able to have the humble mind that I have and be able to put that experience to use from the things I have witnessed and have had to endure.
PC: On paper, you guys look pretty evenly matched. What do you feel will separate you two on Saturday night?
PQ: My character! That to me is the biggest separation in this fight. So when people hear me say, "I'm not fighting this guy for his belt, I'm fighting him for his character," I think that will be the thing that separates us.
PC: You are a full-fledged middleweight. When you see Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez fight at middleweight weighing 153 and 155 pounds respectively, do you view them as junior middleweights?
PQ: Again, I'm a boxer, so it's hard to talk about what is politically incorrect and what's politically correct in the fight game. I just try to stay true to what I do and just talk to Al Haymon a lot and make sure that he knows how I feel about things and that he works with me and make sure that we can come up with the best plan that we can come up with for Peter Quillin. Outside of that, I can't control none of the politics.
PC: Is the three-fight a year average about right for you?
PQ: This year we will have 3 fights, so we are looking to keep that up, you know what I mean. We are about to be 34 fights in the game right now. That's crazy, right?
PC: Yessir. I remember interviewing you when you were like 14-0.
PQ: Yeah, so I've been thankful that I made it this far and got to be blessed to see a lot of things in life. You've been interviewing me for awhile, so I want to ask you a question. Have you seen personal growth from me?
PC: I'm not just saying this because you're on this phone asking me this, but definitely. I remember you were really immature when I first started speaking to you years ago. I could tell you care more now, not just about your career, but things around you and I don't know if that came with experience, with aging and the normal maturation process, or with fatherhood, but you are a very intellectual guy now, and as a person, I could just tell you care a lot more than you used to on all fronts.
PQ: I'll tell you why. The bible tells us not to perform to the world. I know what that means now. I didn't know what it meant before. Sometimes you can't always do what people want you to do, you have to do what's naturally already inside of you. I learned that real fast and I'm thankful. When you hear me say I'm thankful, I'm really thankful for the things that I got to do and got to see, and most importantly, that I got to experience. Now I can apply everything in a positive and right way. And I'm 32 years old now too. I have 34 fights, I got a kid, I got a wife, I own 8 homes right now. You wouldn't even know what I've been through behind the scenes. The struggles and all was real, and now having money. You never know that your perception changes because the way people look at you. They don't look at you the same no more. You got a little change in your pocket, I got a lot of family members now that need help. It's crazy. They see you on TV and they think you got millions of millions of millions of dollars. That's the way that it goes and it's about staying humble. That's what I learned more than anything.
I know what it all mean now. I learned how you learn from everything that we get to go through, even struggles. You're supposed to remain true and humble through everything, struggles and good times. You can't be humble when you are going through your last, but when you have good fortune, you are no longer humble. I want to make sure I stay true and do the right things. When my uncle was on his death bed, man, I asked him what he was going through and he said he just wanted to know if God was going to let him into heaven or not. Whether he went to heaven or not it made me realize in that moment I had with him, your life can go at any time, you can't live with that kind of regret. You can't tell yourself that. I do believe in heaven and hell, and the reason I know about heaven and hell is because of the bible. I'm not going to be scared and fearful when I leave because a lot of people are scared because they don't want to live right. I want to just live right. I'd rather struggle with other things than to struggle with like what Charlie Sheen is struggling with. No disrespect to him, but to come home and be HIV positive when you could be traveling the world and living the good life is unfortunate.
[WRITER'S NOTE: Before concluding this interview, Peter wanted to say a prayer with me.]
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrLouis1ana ]