Boxing

'That's Courage': Bernard Hopkins Admits He Got Jason Quigley Criticism Wrong

'That's Courage': Bernard Hopkins Admits He Got Jason Quigley Criticism Wrong

Almost two weeks have passed since Donegal's undefeated middleweight sensation Jason Quigley appeared to hit a speed-bump on his chartered ascent to the pinnacle of his craft.

Despite a ferocious display in the opening two rounds of Quigley's career-best test against Glen Tapia, the Ballybofey man was dragged into a balls-to-the-wall war with 'Jersey Boy' - a gatekeeper whose three defeats to that point had arrived via stoppage to other notable 160lb prospects.

By the middle rounds Ireland's former European champion and World silver medallist looked a touch panicked as Tapia marched through his best work, seemingly unable to inflict the same damage on Tapia as he had in the opening six minutes.

This was considered a watershed fight in the 25-year-old's career; such is his high standing in America, Quigley was hand-picked to headline Golden Boy's first new show on ESPN - the very network which labelled Quigley one of the world's hottest boxing prospects in 2016. A stoppage victory, said famed analyst and coach Teddy Atlas, was required if Quigley was to be considered a legitimate future star.

As Quigley struggled, Atlas grew more adamant that the Donegal man christened 'El Animal' by his Latino gymmates 'wasn't a pro yet', and ascertained that much of the hype which surrounded his two-year-old professional career had been unwarranted.

Future Hall of Famer and all-time boxing great Bernard Hopkins, too, joined in the Quigley-bashing, expressing his surprise that the Irish Golden Boy was seemingly flagging early in the contest.

Quigley saw it out, however, emerging from the storm with a strong final three rounds to pick up his first professional title - the NABF middleweight championship. As had been clear to a number of Irish viewers but - somewhat inexplicably - not ESPN's blow-by-blow team, it would soon emerge that Quigley had damaged his right hand early in the fight, hence the subsequent struggle and dissipation of power from his predominant weapon. Indeed, he had done significant harm to his paw, not only breaking it but also shredding tendons in what would later be described as a 'one in ten million' injury.

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Golden Boy President Eric Gomez later told THE RING:

The doctor was surprised that Jason could lift his hand — let alone win a 10-round prizefight — after breaking his hand and ‘shredding’ his tendon. This kind of heart, will and skill is what we have come to expect from Jason.

El Animal has since undergone a successful surgery, and recently explained that he had done his best not to alert his opponent to such a debilitating injury lest Tapia use it to his advantage. Last night, Bernard Hopkins and Bernardo Osuna - who both called his fight in California - revisited their criticism of the Irishman while covering another fight card on ESPN.

Osuna said to Hopkins:

The most impressive thing is that not you, not I, not Teddy - we're talking about almost a hundred years of boxing experience - could figure out that the man was injured. He masked it very well.

Former multiple-weight world champion Hopkins, too, reversed his previous criticism and praised Quigley's courage for getting the job done while in excruciating pain:

...that he fought the way he fought... That is courage, and that is a veteran move, and that is experience. And I give him a lot of props for doing that.

Big respect for him for pulling it out. For him to still pull the fight out, it's 'courage'. For him to do that, and still keep cool...His right hand looked like an eight-ounce glove. And he fought like that. That's a lot of courage. That's a lot of heart.

You can watch the full fight below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvCFc4gVcLs

SEE ALSO: Andy Lee Nails Why Sky's Boxing Coverage Is Routinely Awful

Gavan Casey
Article written by
Former handwriting champion. Was violently bitten by a pelican at Fota Wildlife Park in 2001.

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