The War Report: Guinnesses (Week 39, 2017)
There was an old-timey feel to Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan’s recent win over Nick Quigley on Saturday night. A 33-year old Irish middleweight from Cork, O’Sullivan is quite literally looking to become a fixture in a healthy Boston sports scene, with hopes of making enough noise to get himself a title shot that currently sits with the stars. He may remind you of the old-timey heavyweight John L. Sullivan but Spike will take it one further by claiming direct lineage, and given the kind of character he is – one who refuses to answer to Gary – you will take his word for it after one demented glance. His fighting style is old-school as well and, in a small room that even seemed smokey at certain angles, O’Sullivan and Quigley provided a squabble that could be rendered a classic under the right context of one too many Guinnesses.
Within the first few seconds of the fight, Quigley ran right into an O’Sullivan right hand that made made it an uphill climb out of the gate. Immediately, ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna gave a preview of Quigley’s resolve by mentioning that the 29-year-old from Liverpool doesn’t believe in going down but it didn’t seem like a bad idea as O’Sullivan was able rip body shots with ease, as he tried to move around. One minute in, referee Arthur Mercante Jr. was already telling Quigley to show him something, as the latter skirted the ring with his back against the ropes, with a small cut already leaking from his left brow. Mercante’s suggestion inspired a small combination from Quigley but O’Sullivan continued to walk him down with the intent of ending things early. A handful of lefts to the body from Quigley, toward the end of the opening round, tempered O’Sullivan’s output but it was a hellish start for a man coming off a 19-month layoff.
The curls in his mustache were still intact as he sat on the stool for the first time but, as O’Sullivan would discover in round two, Quigley, 15-3 (3), wasn’t going to go out so easily. The jab was disregarded by both men to start the fourth minute and their willingness to trade power hooks toe-to-toe brought forth some scintillating two-way action. Having regained his composure, Quigley managed to bloody O’Sullivan’s nose in the second but not even that would disrupt the hold of his ‘stache on this night. The back-and-forth groove these two were in spilled into the first half of the third round until O’Sullivan landed a few uppercuts with both hands that had Quigley reeling again. Remarkably, Quigley stood there on shaky legs and behind his guard, taking some big, thudding shots from O’Sullivan, but reminded everyone there about his will to stay on his feet. With about 30 seconds to go in the third, O’Sullivan took a deep breath, having experienced this firsthand and landed a few more before round’s end but Quigley was undeniably tough.
Before round four commenced, Mercante called time in order to have the ringside doctor take a look at Quigley, fearing he may be too tough for his own good. Quigley was aware and said, “Boston,” with a smirk, when asked where he was. That was the magic word for the doctor to let him continue and he resumed the show he helped put on for those at the House of Blues in “Beantown.” His beating at the hands of O’Sullivan continued, however, especially once Spike established a jab that set up shots Quigley couldn’t prepare for. A little over a minute in and Mercante eyed him closely and, after a final right hand to Quigley’s nose brutalized it into a bloody mess, he decided to wave it off with him on his feet. Quigley didn’t seem out on his feet or hurt by any means but it was a rightful stoppage that steered clear of becoming uncomfortable. O’Sullivan let out a yell of relief, once Mercante did his job because there was no telling what else it would’ve taken to stop Quigley.
“This is my seventh time fighting in Boston and it has truly turned into my second home. I really appreciate the opportunity,” said O’Sullivan afterward. “I was surprised by Quigley’s power, as he was very strong and delivered clean shots. It was a fight full of action. Quigley and I traded a lot of shots and that’s the only way I could take the victory.”
O’Sullivan, 26-2 (18), will need to do much more than beat a fighter like Quigley to be considered for middleweight title contention but there might be something brewing here in New England, if he can provide more fun fights like this one along the way. Although there was an English ESPN stream available to watch, the only TV time this fight got was on the Spanish-speaking ESPN Deportes but that’s probably fitting, considering the Irish and the Mexicans have a lot in common. Especially with boxing because sometimes any fight will do with one too many (Insert favorite Mexican beer here).