This Saturday will see one of the most eagerly awaited fights in years explode in Manchester. Two world champions, two undefeated fighters and two extraordinary gentleman will put everything on the line all for the benefit of fans around the world.
For a sport inundated with needless politics mainly caused by the presence of too many governing bodies, boxing is used to witnessing the most dangerous combatants in each weight class avoiding each other. One should only look to the light heavyweight scene where it seems Adonis Stevenson is too content to cling to his WBC championship belt instead of engaging with the other power house of the division Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovavlev.
Thankfully at super-bantamweight this is not the case. As IBF champion Carl Frampton and WBA “super” champion Scott Quigg are finally locking horns this weekend. A fight that has been in the making for years will finally come to fruition at the MEN arena.
Frampton floors the very rugged Kiko Martinez a fighter who Frampton fought in two gruelling contests. Quigg would go on to knock him out in second round during their brawl.
The man, known as the ‘Jackal,’ from Belfast is undefeated in 21 and has 14 knockouts to his name. He is an absolute class act both inside and outside of the ring, a trait highlighted by the fact he unites both communities in his native Ireland. This brings added pressures, but like his promoter and predecessor Barry McGuigan, it is something he takes extremely seriously and handles brilliantly.
It is expected that well over 10,000 fans will travel with him to Manchester, in scenes reminiscent of Ricky Hatton almost a decade a go. When the fight was announced back in November and the press tour that ensued arrived in Manchester, there were a handful of fans present to cheer on his rival Scott Quigg. When the fighters arrived in Belfast the next day, however, there were thousands waiting for them. If Quigg was not aware of Frampton’s popularity prior to this, he was after that press conference.
He is considered to be the better boxer technically who is more adaptable and has headlined numerous shows before. Crucially this is something Quigg has never done and it will be interesting to see how this affects the Manchester man. Frampton is slightly smaller in stature but he is an expert mover and fights well on the inside. His left hook to the body is stunning to watch, but I imagine is horrendous to receive. He is the slight Favourite with the bookies.
Quigg with his WBA world title
The quietly spoken Bury native left school at 14 to pursue his dream of becoming a world champion. Through very hard work and utmost dedication this decision paid off as he is currently the WBA “super” champion. He is also undefeated with 31 wins but has drawn twice (23ko’s).
Although not as explicitly popular as Frampton there is nothing to dislike about Quigg and he is renowned for his extreme work ethic in the gym. He is the taller of the two with more professional fights. Although considered the slight underdog if I was Quigg I would take confidence from the fact that he has more knockouts to his name than Frampton has had fights. A similar point that Nigel Benn belligerently asserted to reporters when asked about his frightening assignment prior to the McCelellan war back in 1995. I accept that the circumstances are totally different but with psychology in elite sport, every advantage is vital.
During the press tour Frampton covered his face with a piece paper with the words “real champion” scrawled across it. This was an undisguised dig at the fact Quigg was upgraded by the WBA from the “regular” champion to its full “super” champion. This occurred after Guillermo Rigondeaux was stripped due to inactivity. Although not ideal this is not Quiggs fault and the blame should lie with the WBA who ludicrously have an “interim”, a “regular”and also a “super” champion. It is doubtful anyone in the fight game can realistically explain the differences between each.
Frampton ridicules Quigg during the press tour in Belfast.
As soon as the fight was announced there was the usual animosity between both camps. But in fairness such action has, mainly, been espoused from the rival trainers and promotional companies, the fighters have never lost their respect for each other- a refreshing scene in the sport. Both men know they each face a dangerous foe and have not let petty words distract their focus. They both know at this level talk is cheap.
To most pundits this is very much a 50-50 fight and very hard to pick a winner. If I had to choose now I would back Frampton, as the classier of the two, it would seem he brings that extra edge and I see that being the difference. Either by late stoppage or unanimous decision. For the victor a potential super fight with Rigondeaux awaits, but there will be no shame for whoever loses. Hopefully both men will finish the fight healthily and can enjoy the hard earned money they will no doubt earn from it. The real winners though, thanks to these two warriors, are the fans and its not often in boxing that this is the case.