Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
I will finally be back ringside on Saturday in Birmingham to witness a rare moment in British Boxing in recent years; a fight between an Eddie Hearn promoted fighter and one of Frank Warren’s stable.
Now, boxing and politics go hand in hand like David Cameron and a pig’s head, something that will never change. It frustrates fighters, critics and fans alike, whilst the fighters involved will make claims that the other was contacted, but he turned it down and vice versa.
Let’s be honest, most of the time that is nothing other than bullshit. It’s just a simple way to build potential interest and make your own fighter look the more willing man and at the same time, damage the other’s reputation.
How often is the phrase, “I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, anytime” used. Think about it and then consider how many times the fight that was spoke about has actually happened.
Last weekend was a perfect example of a fight that could have happened plenty of times, but didn’t. Yes, we’re all glad that we have an answer to the Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg conundrum, but my god did it dragged out!
Promoter rivalries, trainer rivalries, dressing room arguments and who is the “real champion” kept going and going, so by the end of it of the fight last weekend, we’d almost forgot who was actually going to be stepping in the ring and trading blows.
But, on Saturday one of those rare occasions where we will see a member of each of the two of the biggest promoters in the UK’s stables facing off as Sam Eggington, the Matchroom hometown favourite, defends his Commonwealth and British welterweight titles against Bradley Skeete, the polarising Warren representative.
After good showings in two editions of Prizefighter, Eggington did enough to impress Matchroom, and in particular Barry Hearn, to be offered a deal, as the money signs flashed in Eddie’s eyes, as he finally had his big reason to go to the Second City, seemingly forgetting he’s had Kal Yafai since 2012.
Eggington is young, exciting welterweight, who thrives on putting on a show for the masses who purchase tickets from him. But, all those Eggington fans could well be in for a stinker on Saturday.
Skeete is hot and cold more than a Thermos Flask. One minute he’s dazzling and stopping his opponent in style, then the other he is the boxing equivalent to a sleeping pill.
If he neutralises Eggington by using all of his experience, it could be a one sided win that people will wish they had never seen in the first place. If Skeete decides to fight fire with fire, it could be a “fight of the year” candidate, but don’t hold your breath for this to even happen.
More importantly though this fight, could begin to signal the end of a pointless Cold War, where Hearn and Warren may work together to give fans the fights they want to see, which is hugely important, considering the amount many have to shell out for the privilege to watch at the venue or on TV.
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but at time of writing this column I could only think of two examples since 2013, where a Matchroom and Warren fighter faced off against each other. Those were Billy Joe Saunders’ win over John Ryder in 2013 and Scotty Cardle’s tight victory over Craig Evans in May 2015.
This pathetic stand off is costing fans the chance to see some quality domestic match ups. Both promoters continue to rave about how these all British fights are all the rage and what we all want. Well, how about you stop talking about it and actually make them happen?
Even when two are matched by the board in a purse bid situation, the likelihood is it will never take place. Now, this rivalry between Hearn and Warren isn’t like Golden Boy and Top Rank’s equivalent in the US, which was solved with much fanfare, due to the threat posed by Al Haymon and his PBC, but is leaving fighters going up to bigger and better opportunities with questions unanswered.
The British title is meant to mean something, but some will bypass it for a pointless international title, that means as much as a belt from your local store, probably on the orders of their promoter, so as to avoid negotiating with the other.
Time to move on and build some bridges, so that we can see the best in the UK take on each other. Eggington-Skeete isn’t the one that sprung to mind of most boxing fans, but at least it’s a start.
Brief Thoughts on Frampton Quigg
Last Saturday’s much hyped contest was a bit of a disappointment, but we now have the answer that Carl Frampton is the better man, regardless of what Levi Martinez, the useless duo of Halling and Watt and Joe Gallagher were watching.
I had it 116-112, but could have gone one further to Frampton, who won five, if you scored the 1st even, or six rounds with no problem, as Quigg did next to nothing.
In hindsight, we now know Quigg broke his jaw in the fourth, so deserves a lot of credit for getting through the rest of the fight, but you can’t help but think did he either bottle it under the pressure of the occasion or did his trainer, the all knowing Gallagher, simply overthink and overcomplicate the game plan.
Quigg came back well at the end, causing Frampton some problems, showing he could adjust during a fight, but it was far too little, too late. Frampton was a deserving winner and with it the case should be closed, as a rematch would be a tough sell.
The Bury man will come back and look to climb the mountain once more, as true champions do, whilst Frampton could well face Guillermo Rigondeaux. Honestly, I’ve no doubt “The Jackal” is a fighting man, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
The loss doesn’t damage Quigg at all, apart from his jaw and Frampton will go from strength-to-strength. Neither fighter’s reputation will be harmed and I firmly believe that both will hold world titles simultaneously in the near future.
Matt Bevan is freelance journalist and contributes to several other leading publications on a weekly basis. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MBevs68.