Quigley doesn’t believe Berlanga is boxing’s next big thing

“I don’t believe he’s the next big thing,” said Irish star Jason Quigley.

Quigley arrived in New York with trainer Andy Lee this week, fully accepting of his underdog role in Saturday’s main event at The Theater in Madison Square Garden. Quigley is supposed to be merely a walk-on part in the Edgar Berlanga show, but that means the challenger feels the pressure is off his shoulders.

Also, while respectful of Berlanga, Quigley does not see what the fuss is about with “The Chosen One,” who is being dubbed as one of the future big attractions of the sport.

“I don’t see that, I’m being honest,” Quigley went on. “This isn’t me trying to play mind games with him or trying to get under their skin or anything like that, but I just don’t see it. 

“Yes, after 16 pro fights when he’s knocking everybody out in one round, you can see where these kinds of statements came from. [But] you know in his most recent four fights he hasn’t been overly impressive, he’s won one or two fights maybe that could’ve gone either way and these are against fighters that are coming and just to test him, really. They know they’re not going to come away winners. These are guys that are seasoned pros that are in there to give him the rounds and to really test him to see, is he the real deal? And I don’t think that he’s shown that in his last couple of fights. Maybe there’s more gears in him, I don’t know, but not from what I’ve seen in his last couple fights. I don’t believe that he’s the next big thing in boxing. Those comments will definitely be shut down after I get my hands on him on June 24.” 

Berlanga is 26-years-old, born in Brooklyn to Puerto Rican parents. He was a good amateur, had nearly 200 contests and is 20-0 as a pro with 16 stoppages. Quigley also has 20 pro wins, against two defeats – to Demetrius Andrade and Tureano Johnson – and not only is Quigley the second favourite, but the crowd will be cheering for Berlanga. That said, Quigley contends he won’t be without his own supporters.

I think it is the weekend after Puerto Rican week in New York, so they’re basing him around Puerto Rican weekend, but I’ve said this a few times in interviews, ‘Every weekend is Irish weekend in New York,’” Quigley smiled. “So I’m pretty sure now it’s going to be a 50/50 crowd – without a doubt.” 

Trainer and former world middleweight champion Lee is with Quigley having had visa issues going to the States after traveling with the wrong documents during Covid. Lee, of course, had one of the great nights of his own career in the big room in Madison Square Garden when he scored a picture perfect uppercut knockout of John Jackson, almost 10 years ago.

But the storyline is that Quigley, at 32, is being brought in to progress Berlanga’s career, be it from the status of having the Irishman’s name on his record or having the type of fight Berlanga can learn from and build upwards momentum from.

I believe that they think they’re bringing me in as an opponent, and they are right, which is a big mistake,” said Quigley, of the expectations on Berlanga. “This is his weekend in New York City, his hometown, his Matchroom debut. They’re bringing me in and they’re expecting Berlnga to win. They’re not going to put him in with anybody that they think will obviously cause the upset, which is great for me. Because they’re going to be looking at the Canelos, the Benavidezes, and the super-middleweights that are top of the tree right now in boxing. I honestly believe they have taken their eye off the ball with me, which is a massive mistake on their behalf. I do think they’re bringing me in to set Berlanga up for a good one in Madison Square Garden, and on his Matchroom debut. But I think behind closed doors, it’s being all set up for me. I think that’s life, that’s what nobody’s seeing. I believe the higher power is setting it all up for me. I’m getting in there now and it’s Madison Square Garden, like, you can easily turn this around as my event. Madison Square Garden, New York City, all the Irish, against Puerto Rican, it’s going to be massive. It’s a great stage now to go and show my worth and to show that I belong there with the very best.”