Luke Keeler [17(5)-3(2)-1] says he will stave off retirement plans if an Irish middleweight title fight with Jason Quigley [19(14)-1] can be made for Croke Park and the undercard of Katie Taylor’s proposed homecoming.
As two of the three most high-profile middleweights of their era, alongside Conrad Cummings, the Dublin and Donegal 160lbs fighters have been linked over the years.
Both have mentioned the other on occasion – with Keeler possibly more vocal in that regard – but at no stage did a meeting look likely.
Neither has been seen since their respective WBO world middleweight title defeats to Demetrius Andrade, and with both hinting retirement may be an option in recent weeks, it was thought a mouthwatering ‘era-defining’ middleweight match-up had gone the way of Andy Lee–Matthew Macklin rather than Spike O’Sullivan–Anthony Fitzgerald.
However, ‘Coolhand’ remains interested and believes Irish fight fans should not give up hope.
Buoyed by the fact Eddie Hearn is fond of both and has mentioned it as a possible fight for the rumoured Taylor-topped Croke Park card, Keeler thinks it can be made.
“It would be dream come true to fight Dublin again and at such an unbelievable venue,” the Ballyfermot man tells Irish-boxing.com.
“To be honest it felt like [a Quigley fight] wasn’t a possibility anymore as I was close to retirement, but it was mentioned by Eddie, so if it can be made I’ll return full-time and give it my all,” he adds before revealing he thinks it’s an ideal Croker undercard clash.
“I think it’s a perfect fit. Nobody has fought for the Irish title since I won it, so maybe it can be made for that. I’m sure Eddie will want a stacked undercard and I think a fight between me and Jason would be a perfect fit. I think any Irish vs Irish fight creates huge interest. They are fights where everything is left in the ring and they always end up being better than expected.”
A Keeler Quigley match would be up there as one of the biggest all-Irish fights in recent times considering both are recent world title challengers. It would also be one that would split opinions when it came to calling a winner.
The Dublin side of the fight claims it’s more 50-50 now than ever considering he has been out of the gym.
“It’s a real 50-50 fight, more so no because I haven’t been training for the last couple of years and had resigned myself to retirement. But it’s a fight that gets heart racing again and gets the buzz back, so it would be easy to stop work and slot back into full-time training for this one.”
Matchroom boss Hearn has mentioned the fight and there has been fan chatter re a dust-up -but Keeler reveals there has been no official talk about getting it made yet.
“There hasn’t been any contact yet. It’s still early days, dates and the main event have to be finalised. Once that’s done I’m sure undercard will come into play then.”