This Saturday night in Manchester, one of the most eagerly awaited all-British showdowns in recent years will finally take place as Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg battle to unify the IBF & WBA Super-Bantamweight World Championships.
After almost 4 years of attempted negotiations, trash talking and clamouring for this fight to happen, the two men from Belfast and Bury will put their undefeated records on the line, Frampton (21-0 14 KO’s) and Quigg (31-0-2 23 KO’s).
Both men’s careers have taken very different routes to reach this super-fight this weekend. Frampton was a very accomplished amateur winning over 100 fights and only losing 8 times, it was during this time that Irish legend and former World Featherweight Champion Barry McGuigan spotted Frampton’s ability and took him under his wing as his manager and mentor and employed his son Shane McGuigan as his trainer.
After debuting in 2010, he very quickly rose through the ranks, winning the Commonwealth Title in just his 11th fight and showing off an incredible level of popularity across Northern Ireland, very reminiscent of his mentor McGuigan. His breakthrough performance though, came in February 2013 when he won the European title, defeating Spanish veteran Kiko Martinez in the 9th Round, becoming the first man to ever stop him inside the distance.
This victory propelled him up to the top and just 18 months later he faced Martinez in a rematch for the IBF Super-Bantamweight belt, in front of 16,000 fans at a specially built arena at Titanic Quarter in Belfast. This time he put Martinez on the floor in Round 5 on his way to a lopsided Unanimous Decision to win his first World Title. After the fight, Barry McGuigan said that Frampton had the potential to become the greatest Irish fighter in history. After two successful defences last year, Frampton’s journey has now brought him to Manchester on Saturday night as he aims to grow his legacy further by wiping out his main rival in this division and unifying the two belts.
Whereas Frampton was earmarked from his debut to achieve stardom, in comparison, Scott Quigg toiled away for much of his early years in the wilderness, honing his craft, slowly working his way to the top of the Boxing. Although he started off impressively under the stewardship of trainer Joe Gallagher, he went largely unrecognised by mainstream fans in Boxing until 2012. He first impressively dispatched veteran Jason Booth for the British title and then went on to win his 2nd fight vs Rendall Monroe in dominant fashion, claiming the WBA title in the process.
He has since gone on to make 6 successful defences of the WBA title, but arguably his most impressive showing was his last fight against former Frampton adversary, Kiko Martinez. Quigg dismantled the Spaniard with explosive power as he knocked him out in just 2 rounds and then made it clear there was only one opponent who he wanted next, Carl Frampton.
Back in 2012 when this fight was first speculated, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn was promoting Frampton whilst Quigg was working with Hatton Promotions, but in 2013 Hearn signed Quigg to Matchroom in the hopes of easing the path to a fight between the two fighters, but it had completely the opposite effect as Frampton and McGuigan felt Hearn was holding back their career route and they parted ways from Matchroom Boxing, with no love lost from either side and McGuigan formed his own company, Cyclone Promotions.
After defeating Chris Avalos in February 2015, Frampton called out Quigg for a unification match-up. A few months later, Hearn made Frampton an offer of £1.5million to make the fight, which was turned down with Frampton citing the offer as an insult and that he should earn a lot more from, in his view, being the bigger name draw from a fight between the two. After another dispute it appeared that talks about a fight had ended at this point, with Hearn commenting that he was fed up with the overbearing McGuigan and Frampton.
Then in November 2015, a deal was finally reached between the two camps for the fight to finally take place at Manchester Arena. Many of the demands that had drawn out negotiations in the past had at last been resolved with Quigg stating that he was happy to give whatever Frampton wanted just to make the fight happen, adding that he will show why he (Frampton) has delayed making this happen for so long when he KO’s the Belfast native.
In contrast, Frampton was equally delighted about the news saying that it’s been hard work making the deal but he was happy to finally look forward to it, declaring that he will go to Quigg’s hometown and prove that he’s the best, not just in Britain at this weight, but the best in the world.
What are each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses?
Frampton has brilliant boxing craft; he can hit and move very efficiently, showing great technical proficiencies in winning many of his fights by outboxing his foes and great footwork which enables him to dictate the pace of a fight, a possible weakness is his chin. He was in trouble at points of his 1st fight vs Martinez and was on the floor twice in his last fight before going on to win so that could be an intriguing factor in this fight.
Quigg though definitely has the advantage in terms of one punch power, he has won 10 of his last 12 fight by KO and his come forward style could pose problems for Frampton to cope with and Quigg has on various occasions showed that he has a good chin to stand up to good punches. Also Quigg is arguably the fittest boxer in the world; he has superb conditioning so he’ll have no problem fighting at a pace for 12 rounds if required. A possible weakness is his walk forward style with his gloves tucked up, it can leave him exposed to hooks as he attacks, which has been noted in the past and that is, ironically, Frampton’s favourite punch so he’ll have to watch out for that.
What’s my personal prediction?
I feel that it’s very even, any outcome wouldn’t surprise me at all, but I feel the power and fitness of Quigg will drag Frampton into a fight which is what Quigg wants and I just feel he’ll be able to swarm him all night. So I’m going for Quigg to win by KO in Round 9.
So after talking about this fight for so long, it’s finally going to happen. Enjoy watching on Saturday night it is as the title of the fight says ‘Too Close To Call’.