Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
So after years of waiting, trading insults and switching promoters, on Saturday we will finally see Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg share the ring, in a fight that has ignited the interest of boxing fans all over the world.
Let’s forget about the Guillermo Rigondeaux situation for the moment, as both have had opportunities to take on the world’s best super-bantamweight, and focus on Saturday. How often do 2 of the top 3 or 4 in any weight, close to their prime, face off against each other.
It doesn’t happen very often and it’s fair to say that it will be a wonderful occasion seeing two genuine world class operators scrap it out to see who is the best on Saturday in Manchester.
Myself I’m edging towards Frampton, although the gap between the 2 has shortened over the years. I’ve always said that the longer it takes for this fight to be made, the better Quigg’s chance will be if they do meet.
That’s certainly the case and makes it a much better fight on Saturday than it was when we first started talking about it 5 years ago. In terms of pedigree, Frampton is way ahead in that department, off the back of his amateur career, where the fundamentals are all in place, whereas Quigg has had to play catch up.
If you are interested in the records, the Bury man has 12 more fights on his ledger than “The Jackal”, but those were the fights he needed to bring it closer. If this had happened 5 years ago, when Frampton held the Commonwealth and Quigg the British, it wouldn’t have been close.
However, both have gone through the levels to world title status, although Quigg’s rise was helped by the WBA and others getting stripped or injured. Quigg has spent a lot of time bringing up Frampton’s last performance against Alejandro Gonzalez last July.
But that showed Frampton can adjust his style under serious pressure and adds another dimension to him. Frampton was dropped twice, another point being brought up a lot, but Quigg seems to be forgetting he was dropped by Jamie Arthur a few years back, so it’s not as if he’s indestructible.
Quigg deserves huge credit for the way that he beat Kiko Martinez last July, on the same night as Frampton’s clash with Gonzalez. The Belfast man shared the ring with the Spaniard for 21 rounds, and the first fight preceded Kiko actually winning a world title.
Frampton ripped it from his grasp in Belfast, but he didn’t stop him as emphatically as Quigg did. It’s fair to say that Quigg looked bang average in the first round against Martinez, but the way he jumped on him and flattened him was impressive to say the least.
There are plenty of ifs and buts surrounding this fight, but to be honest, it’s just great to actually see this happen and not have our own version of Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa. Those two were destined to meet in their primes, but due to losses and bad living, we never got to see it happen.
Despite the dressing room row, we will see this one and I personally cannot wait. I’m still picking Frampton to win on points, but you know that Quigg will give it absolutely everything.
The undercard, albeit not worthy of being on Box Office, is decent with some good fights. Gavin McDonnell will look to continue his huge surge in momentum with a win over Panama’s Jorge Sanchez, which could see him end in the mandatory status for Julio Ceja’s WBC super-bantamweight strap.
You’d struggle to meet a nicer guy in British boxing circles than McDonnell, whist the transformation from supporting his brother ringside, to getting in the ring himself and being on the verge of a world title fight himself is remarkable.
Ceja defends his title on Saturday in the States against Hugo Ruiz, the man he beat to get it, but if he comes through that and McDonnell beats Sanchez then it sets up a cracker. The Mexican has already lost to Gavin’s twin Jamie in a world title fight, so you can’t see him turning down the chance to avenge that defeat by beating Gavin.
Two domestic scraps are getting a big billing with Hosea Burton and Miles Shinkwin clashing for the vacant British light-heavyweight title and Isaac Lowe and Marco McCullough facing off the also vacant Commonwealth featherweight crown.
Burton and Shinkwin is the one that interests me more, as it is criminal how inactive the British belt has been. There are plenty of good fighters out there who can vie for it, although it was held up due to the situation between then champion Bob Ajisafe and the now retired Travis Dickinson.
It’s a quality domestic dust-up and can kickstart the light-heavyweight division once more. Lowe and McCullough is just as intriguing, as Lowe keeps on improving with every fight, whilst you never know which McCullough will turn up.
They could well steal the show Saturday. As could Ryan Burnett, who I believe is one of the best prospects not just in the UK, but the world. Anthony Settoul shouldn’t provide much of a problem for Burnett, who got plenty of flack from Sky Sports hapless commentary duo of Nick Halling and Jim Watt last time out.
Did people really believe Burnett would go and just wipe the floor with Jason Booth? Booth is as tough and experienced as they come, so for Burnett to perform like he did, and shed the doubt as to whether he can go 12, was excellent.
He can only get better, as will Charlie Edwards, who should have a straight forward night with Luke Wilton for an international title and British eliminator. All being well Edwards will fight fellow former amateur star, Andrew Selby, later this year for the British strap, which is a hell of a fight.
Finally keep an eye out for Josh Taylor and Scott Fitzgerald on the bill. The two Commonwealth Games gold medalists are both excellent fighters, in particular Taylor who dealt with the pressure of leading the charge for Scotland in Glasgow, something he did admirably.
His win over Sam Maxwell was close, but in the final he showed he was world class. Fitzgerald was the surprise package of the 2014 Games, coming from nowhere to win the gold. He didn’t really get a chance to build on that in the GB system, so the pro’s could be the perfect place for him.
Matt Bevan is freelance journalist and contributes to several other leading publications on a weekly basis. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MBevs68.