In the run-up to his legendary scrap with Thomas Hearns in the 1980s, Marvin Hagler was sharpening his edge at Palm Springs.
By Chris McNulty in Indio, California
In the middle of the desert, Hagler got to work.
The temptations of the bright city lights are far in the distance. The world here, between the rolling swathes of sand, the palm trees and the seemingly never-ending stretches of freeway that don’t ever seem to bend, is different here.
The landscape is broken only by the thousands of windmills that were immortalised in Mission Impossible III.
Hagler was on a brisk walk around the adjoining golf course, accompanied by the Petronelli brothers, Goody and Pat, who’d trained him since his early days in their Brockton Gym
Hagler came upon a little grove of citrus trees.
Pat Petronelli knew what was coming.
“Naw, come on, you’re not gonna do it.”
There, in the piercing desert heat was the middleweight champion of the world, hanging from the tree bagging the fruit.
A golf cart swung by and its bemused occupant had to stop.
“Marvin, what you doin’ up there?”
“Hey, I’m picking me some oranges, Bob. That all right?”
Quite what the 82-year-old Bob Hope made of it all is unclear, but Hagler stopped Hearns in the third round of their legendary meeting.
Jason Quigley’s designs mightn’t quite be on the citrus trees of the desert, but in other ways the heights of Hagler are in the crosshairs of the Ballybofey man as he gets ready to defend his NABF middleweight title against rugged Mexican veteran Freddy Hernandez on Thursday night in Fantasy Springs Resort, Indio.
You can’t help but be captivated by the landscape here.
For Quigley, it has become a home-from-home. Thursday’s title fight will be his sixth at the venue.
“The first time I went there, I was like: ‘Wow’,” says Quigley.
“It’s right in the middle of the desert, but you have everything you need within the resort. There’s nothing for miles. It’s ideal. I really like it in Fantasy Springs. It’s become something of a home venue.”
— Golden Boy Boxing (@GoldenBoyBoxing) October 15, 2018
His record in the ring at Fantasy Springs is perfect.
It was here that he won the first belt of his pro career when defeating Glen Tapia in March 2017, famously sustaining a broken right hand in the process.
Tolutomi Agunbiade, Joshua Snyder and Michael Faulk were stopped in the second rounds by Quigley, then based in Los Angeles.
If it took two rounds for Agnubiade, Snyder and Faulk, Quigley needed just two minutes to KO Freddy Lopez on his next visit to Fantasy Springs.
His greatest moment yet arrived when he downed Tapia and the Ballybofey man says his army of followers in California can expect a new Quigley to the man they christened ‘El Animal’ during his time at the Rock Gym in Carson.
Quigley says: “I’ve learned more and progressed moire. Every time I go in, I want to improve.
“I started my career in Los Angeles and the Mexican, American and Californian fans took me in with open arms. I’ve got such a great fanbase over there.
“I’ll be going in to give it my absolute all and hopefully Freddy Hernandez comes 110 per cent prepared too. Freddy Hernandez will be coming to win. I get more up for fights like this. It’s exciting for me and for my fans to get a fight like this.”
His latest few opponents, who include James De La Rosa, Jorgé Melendez, Tapia and Daniel Rosario have taken Quigley significantly up a grade.
Click Clack Bang 🔫💥☘️
In 4 days I Defend my NABF Middleweight Title @fantasysprings live on @espn #AndStill #BackToBusiness #QuigleyHernandez #California #Boxing #GBPonESPN @GoldenBoyBoxing @Everlast_ @OscarDeLaHoya pic.twitter.com/Sd3BU9FzAL
— Jason Quigley (@jay_quigley) October 15, 2018
The Donegal middleweight says: “That’s a nice little resumé that I’ve tucked under my belt. I plan to keep doing that. These lads were all at higher levels than me before I met them. I’ve got in there and beaten them.
“That’s experience I need as a professional to learn this game.
“This is the road and the path I need to be on to be fully prepared when my chance comes to fight for the world title.”Tags: