SAN DIEGO, February 26, 2016 – Undefeated Super Bantamweight champions Carl Frampton (21-0-0, 14 KOs) of Northern Ireland and Scott Quigg (31-0-2, 23 KOs) will put their records on the line in a unification title bout Saturday in Manchester, England. To the delight of American fans, Showtime will air the fight live in the States at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT.
Frampton, 29, is Northern Ireland’s first boxing champion since 1996. He won the IBF title in Belfast with a unanimous decision over Spain’s Kiko Martinez in September 2014 in front of 16,000 roaring hometown fans. Martinez didn’t make it easy for Frampton, who nevertheless dominated on the scorecards.
Quigg, 27, is a Manchester native, will put his WBA Super World Super Bantamweight (got that?) belt on the line. Quigg won the regular belt in 2012 with a victory in his rematch with Rendell Monroe after the first bout ended in a technical draw when a cut to Monroe’s eye forced a stoppage. Quigg has defended the title six times, but this will be a significant test.
Quigg hasn’t gotten the same respect as Frampton, but he changed plenty of minds after his impressive second round TKO in July 2015 over the same Kiko Martinez who lost to Frampton over two years ago. Martinez fights Leo Santa Cruz in Anaheim, California later on Saturday.
Frampton is coming off a shaky performance in his American debut. He should have been able to mow down Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. of Mexico in El Paso, Texas last July. He appeared out of sorts from the opening bell. His footing on the canvas was shaky and Gonzalez knocked Frampton down twice in the first round. Frampton gathered his wits and managed to get a decision win. After the bout, Frampton said the ring canvas was soft, but took nothing away from Gonzalez.
Frampton has been calling out Quigg ever since Frampton stopped Martinez. The timing of this bout couldn’t be better for Quigg. He is the fighter with the momentum and mental edge. Even though Frampton won his last fight, it was literally a shaky outing and these rough performances can get into an athlete’s head.
Quigg has a three inch edge in height, 5-8 to Frampton’s 5-5, with the equivalent reach advantage. In the smaller weight classes, this is a significant gap. Frampton has a square body frame, and in theory it means the lower center of gravity can help him stay on his feet when hit hard. This only works if the footwork problem in his last fight was an anomaly.
Quigg has a higher knockout percentage, and is the more powerful man. If he can employ a smart mix of body shots and upper cuts, a punch often neglected by boxers, and gather energy from his hometown fans, he has every opportunity to score what most would consider an upset.
Frampton has impressive technical skills and is quick-witted in the ring. “Quigg is a good fighter, but I’m in a class above,” said Frampton. “I’m better than him in every department, and he knows it.”
“I’m so looking forward to this,” says Frampton, who weighed in Friday at 121.7 pounds. “Scott Quigg will not be able to handle the skills I bring to the ring, and toward the middle of the fight he will start looking for a way out by landing some big shots. I will then open him up and finish him off early. I’ll win, 100 percent.”
Quigg, who has a legitimate gripe with fans who haven’t afforded him the same respect as Frampton, comes into this fight with enormous confidence. “Carl Frampton has never been in the ring with anyone like me, and he will regret the day he signed to face me. I’ll beat him, I’ll knock him out and if he wants a rematch in Belfast, I’ll do it all again in six month’s time.”
These two rivals genuinely dislike each other, getting heated at the final news conference Thursday, fueled by a dust-up between Frampton’s trainer Shane McGuigan and Quigg’s trainer Joe Gallagher. The fighters have been bickering over which man would get to use the Manchester Arena’s “home” dressing room. Frampton threatened at the weigh-in to pull out of the fight because he feels Quigg has the better dressing room. Quigg said it’s no matter to him. “I’ll get changed at home and come to the arena and get in that ring. It means nothing to me, the changing room, it’s just nonsense.”
Frampton suggested a coin toss or even a game of rock-paper-scissors to solve the argument. It’s still not settled at press time.
The head games will likely continue right up to the opening bell at the sold-out Manchester Arena. Those watching at home will be treated to a corker of a fight. It’s another opportunity for boxers in one of the smaller weight classes to get the attention and love from American fans, who traditionally focus on the bigger men. Finally, thanks to the talent on the rise in the smaller weight divisions, there are too many boxers who are too good to be ignored.
Frampton says when he’s at his best, no one can beat him. We aren’t convinced this will be the case on Saturday. Our prediction: We’re calling the fight for Scott Quigg. He’s got the momentum and he seems the looser man leading up to this showdown. He has the hometown edge and if he fights like a “smart monster” as Teddy Atlas describes smart aggression, he’ll be the winner by a late round stoppage.
Showtime Boxing: Frampton vs. Quigg airs at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. in the United States.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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