February 27 will finally see a fight between the two elite super-bantamweights in the UK, which has been talked about over the past three years.
First off, both fighters are excellent ambassadors for the sport, Carl Frampton emulating his mentor Barry McGuigan in capturing the support of a nation in Northern Ireland and Scott Quigg, whose work ethic and dedication to the sport should be a shining example to all young aspiring boxers.
However, despite the Sky hype machine and public opinion on the fight, this is no 50-50 fight.
Step forward, Carl Frampton. Frampton’s excellent amateur career in which he racked up over 100 victories has provided him with the skill set to take him to victory. Frampton’s ability to box off the back foot, punch selection variety and footwork that allows him to negate opponents that often outsize him are three crucial assets that should steer him to a win.
Quigg seems to carry out his best work and display his power punching against a target that is willing to stand in front of him, ala his breakout knockout of Kiko Martinez. This is highlighted by pantomime villain Joe Gallagher’s repeated comments following the announcement of the bout, imploring Frampton to stand and fight Quigg, as it’s what the fans want. To me, this shows even Quigg’s trainer is accepting that his fighters only chance is a toe-to-toe war.
Despite that much talked about three minutes in El Paso on Saturday 18th July; Quigg arguably suffered a worse first round against a fired up Martinez. However, this led to overconfidence from Martinez, who was knocked out standing at close quarters with Quigg in the second stanza. Frampton will not do this, and instead of cutting the ring off and stalking the Jackal, I feel Quigg will clumsily chase him winging away big power punches, which should play into Shane Mcguigan’s expected game plan of having his man Frampton counterpunching off the back foot.
The only two potential issues for team Frampton are the weight and Eddie Hearn’s buzzword ‘atmosphere’. In the aftermath of the American adventure, Frampton discussed that he found making the 122lbs limit difficult. If there are any issues with making weight, this could lead for problems for Frampton with stamina, which will make boxing off the back foot for twelve rounds nigh on impossible. Alongside this, The Jackal, used to home comforts in Belfast, can not allow any potential hostility facing him in the crowd to affect his performance.
What the future could hold for the pair.
Scott Quigg has a frame and size that would allow him to move up to 126lbs if not higher. Featherweight is an excellent division, with long time rival Leo Santa Cruz holding a belt at that weight and domestic clashes like Josh Warrington and Lee Selby all options, should Quigg choose to move up.
Should Carl Frampton win, it could catapult him into crossover superstardom, much like McGuigan after his victory against Eusebio Pedraza at Loftus Road in 1985. With Al Haymon’s PBC being linked to a potential ITV deal, the Jackal could find himself as the UK poster boy for terrestrial boxing come in the years to come.
We have seen in recent years, the negative and positive side of domestic PPV showdowns with Bellew Cleverly 2 and the Froch Groves rivalry. Regardless of the result and outcome, lets hope for a bout that lives up to the mainstream attention it has received and brings more fans to the sport.