Considering Oscar De La Hoya has been one of the most vocal critics of the crossover bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, you might have expected Quigley to row in behind his Golden Boy promoter in dismissing the much-hyped fight as a “circus”.
Instead, the Donegal middleweight not only opted to stand in the opposing corner to De La Hoya, hailing the bout as a must-watch event, he event went so far as to predict that McGregor will deliver an upset knockout victory during a recent TV interview.
It is a forecast the 26-year-old is sticking to, despite the fact that his view may be unpopular among the wider boxing fraternity.
“Oscar’s definitely not a big fan of it and as boxing goes, it’s not a fan-friendly fight,” admits Quigley, referring to the purists who have scoffed at the notion of a pro-boxing debutant taking on an undefeated 49-0 veteran. “People will look at it as a joke and it’s hard to look at it in a serious manner because it’s kind of like a fantasy fight — it’s like something you’d get on a Playstation game!
“But I think McGregor is going to knock Floyd Mayweather out and I hope he does. For Ireland, it will be unbelievable and I think McGregor’s going to open a lot of eyes,” adds the Golden Boy prospect.
A survey by boxing reporter Kevin Byrne may have seen Quigley stand alone as the only one of 50 Irish boxing figures to predict a win for his compatriot, but should McGregor pull off a shock victory, the Ballybofey native will boast of being the only high-profile Irish boxer to have unconditionally backed his fellow Irish fighter. On the other hand, if McGregor loses as widely expected, Quigley can still cite blind patriotism as his reasoning, having already benefited from the publicity his call has attracted.
Indeed, the prediction has already led to plenty of welcome media coverage for the California-based middleweight during his six-month spell out of the ring while rehabbing an injured hand picked up in his American (NABF) title victory over Glen Tapia last March.
“I genuinely think McGregor’s going to knock Mayweather out cold,” insists the former world and European amateur medallist when asked if his heart is, in truth, overruling his head.
“Mayweather’s too old and he’s past it now. McGregor’s young, hungry, and he has the power to knock people out. If any man is capable of doing it, it’s Conor McGregor.” For all his talk, however, Quigley — an intelligent and articulate fighter — admits that, in boxing terms, there is only one fight to get excited about in the coming weeks.
Mayweather-McGregor may resemble a mix of reality television and car-crash TV, but the September 16 world middleweight title meeting of Golovkin and ‘Canelo’ is the quality production. Being a middleweight prospect with ambitions of booking a world-title shot — as well as a Golden Boy stablemate of ‘Canelo’ — Quigley is in a unique position to offer a relevant take.
“Real boxing fans and people that are interested in the real sport of boxing are going to be all over Canelo-Triple G,” admits the Finn Valley man. “The Triple G-Canelo fight is going to be amazing. I’m really excited for that fight because I think boxing is starting to take a turn again towards big fights.
“You can have four champions in the one weight division, but everyone wants to know who’s the man… This is just going to be a great fight to show who is the man.” Now 13-0 as a pro, from his own professional perspective, the middleweight clash is also of interest to Quigley. “I think I’m three or four solid fights away from getting a shot at the title,” says the 26-year-old.
A long rehab process means a planned winter ring return may be delayed, but for now he is content to reassume the role of a fight fan and tipster.
“I’m not leaning towards Canelo because I’m a Golden Boy fighter… I want to fight him someday,” says Quigley when asked for another prediction. “I’m looking at it as a boxer and a boxing fan, and I think it’s going to be a unanimous decision for Canelo.”