It’s a fight he probably didn’t see coming.
But Donegal boxer has the mother of all opportunities when he faces unbeaten Edgar Berlanga in New York’s Madison Square Gardens in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The Ballybofey boxer will record a major upset if he snatches Berlanga’s NABO super-middleweight title who has 20 pro fights unbeaten with 16 KOs.
But with Quigley returning from a 16 month lay off before recording a routine win over Gabor Gorbics in Dublin’s National Stadium and with Andy Lee back in his corner, he is in a low-key yet confident mood.
Never one to get involved in the theatrics outside the ring, Quigley is looking forward to the bright lights of the Garden and the Irish crowd getting behind him.
While Quigley doesn’t have a huge punch in his locker to floor Berlanga, he certainly has pedigree as his amateur records will testify.
“Not at all. I can outbox Berlanga, I can stop him, I can knock him out, I can do a variety of different things. Look, Madison Square Garden, New York, I don’t care how many Puerto Ricans are there, whenever you are in New York, it’s more Irish than it’s ever going to be any other nationality. I have no concern about the judges, I am going in there and I know my boxing skills and the way that I box and the way that I perform to, I know there is going to be no real question mark for the judges.”
But has the bruising defeat by Andrade made him a better fighter or has it still questioning his own abiality to mix it with the best?
Jason said “I’m different. Not very different, I’m still the same person, I’ve just had a few different experiences, a bit of a maturing and a bit of learning over the last year or two. That’s stuff you can’t buy, or hand down to somebody. I’m still the same person, I have learned a few things, I’ve matured a bit better through the experiences I’ve been through. So yeah I’m still the same person but I’ve got a wee bit more added on, I could say.”
So what has that new-found maturity done for him in his quest to be accepted among the elite of world boxing?
“That has put me into a much more confident role in myself, and I’ve always been confident in myself. I’ve always been confident in myself and thought I’m a very confident person. But through different experiences and things that you go through, you find out maybe you weren’t so confident in yourself before. There is always more to you. I believe that what I have experienced and what I’ve been through in my career, my last few fights, and my life in general, I’m much more rounded, grounded, and a confident person inside.”
While the Andrade fight may have been a step too far for Quigley, he is thankful of getting another big cut at another big name.
He always believed there was going to be another big opportunity around the corner if he was patient.
“Yeah, like I’ve always knew that. You’ve always known that the opportunity is there and you have to grab it and I’ve always taken the pressure off a little bit in terms of like… a lot of people go in there and some people might think this is correct but they go in there and ‘Ah this is it now, I need to grab this like’ you know, it’s another fight, do you know what I mean? I’ve prepared myself better than ever this time around. I’ve a great team around me for this last fight and this fight. You know, i’ve had a great training camp and a great lead up to this fight. So for me, I’ve been ready to rock and role for this one and am very excited for it, it’s definitely put me in a great place.”
He harks back to the experience of defeat and how it can bring confidence if channelled in the proper way.
“I’m very confident. I’ve been very confident throughout my career, but there is different aspects of being confident, you’re always confident in your ability and what you can do, there are things you pick up along the way that you make you actually more confident, that maybe you weren’t aware of before. Now I am so much aware, of things I’ve been through, learning and growing. I’m extremely confident, I’ve been confident in every fight I have went into my own career. There is just more added on for this one.”
With promoter Eddie Hearn looking after Berlanga, Quigley knows that the set-up is very much against him as he steps into the ring.
But insists victory over the unbeaten Berlanga could change all that very quickly.
“I think early on in my career that would have been annoying and it would have got to me a bit. I understand the way boxing goes now and I’m very mature now. I don’t get caught up in what people say or think, unless it’s the wife, then I have to start thinking about it! That’s boxing, I go in here now, Eddie is obviously Team Berlanga but I go in and take him out, Eddie is obviously going to be Team Quigley, that’s the way this boxing game goes, that’s just the way that it is. But you know it goes give me an extra gip to go in and show these f******s that I am the man. Underestimate me all you want, but I’m the man.”
Quigley knows that behind all the pre-match chat from Berlanga, he must still put down the challenge from the Donegal man.
And Jason only has one immediate goal, to take care of Berlango.
He adds “The thing about Berlanga, from what I see, he’s all about his looks, the high profile, and talking and all this kind of stuff. To me now as a 32-year-old professional, all that shows in insecurities. I have never seen a man get as much hate online at Berlanga. I know it gets to him. Look, it is what it is, if he wants to be thinking about Canelo and slobbering back and forth to Billy Joe Saunders, that’s fine. That’s taking his eye off the ball even more so. It’s taken his focus off this fight which is going to play into my hands.”
Quigley is picture above at the weigh-in with Berlanga. Pic courtesy of Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.