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Scott Quigg on Carl Frampton: ‘I’m better in every department’

23
Feb
IBF junior featherweight titlist Carl Frampton (left) and WBA counterpart Scott Quigg go head-to-head. Photo: Mark Robinson

IBF junior featherweight titlist Carl Frampton (left) and WBA counterpart Scott Quigg go head-to-head. Photo: Mark Robinson

It’s a showdown years in the making. It’s the first unification bout involving unbeaten Brits. It sold out 20,000 seats in less than 10 minutes. It’s a junior featherweight clash that has been deemed worthy of a U.K. pay-per-view price tag, something commonly reserved for bigger men.

Simply put, Carl Frampton vs. Scott Quigg, which takes place in Manchester, England, on Saturday, is the most attractive 122-pound fight that money can buy and even the participants are shocked at the level of excitement that surrounds the event.

“I never expected it to become as big,” said Quigg, who will defend his WBA title and challenge for the IBF strap that Frampton carries. “If you look back on boxing history, the lighter fighters are rarely involved on the pay-per-view platform. I always knew we would sell out an arena and generate a lot of interest but this has surpassed my expectations.

“There is more pressure because it’s such a big fight but I thrive on that. The type of pressure I put on myself makes me train harder because I want to keep improving in this game. Expectations are higher and there’s more media obligations but I’m enjoying all of that.”



Quigg, while appearing on “The Gloves Are Off” show on Sky Sports in the U.K., revealed that he views Frampton as merely “OK at everything,” a somewhat dismissive analysis given the official odds, which have the popular Belfast man installed as favorite.

“I respect (Frampton) as a fighter and he’s world-class but, when I study him, that’s what I see,” said Quigg, who is rated No. 2 by THE RING at 122 pounds. “He boxes well on the front foot but I’ve seen fighters box better on the front foot. He boxes well off the back foot but I’ve seen fighters box better off the back foot.

“In training, I prepare for a monster because that’s the way you have to think at this level of the game. When I say he’s OK at everything, that’s just my honest opinion. I’m not expecting an easy fight, far from it, but, despite the fact that he does some things well, he makes a lot of mistakes.”

The fight is being held on Quigg’s home turf and opinions vary on whether this will be a factor. Ticket allocations were split down the middle, so both men could enjoy an equal amount of fan affection, although Frampton’s manager and promoter, former WBA featherweight titleholder Barry McGuigan, is adamant that Quigg will feel like he’s in Belfast.

The home fighter disagrees.

“I’ll be more comfortable,” said the Englishman as though stating the obvious. “I’ll sleep in my own bed and I’ve boxed in the Manchester arena several times, so it’s familiar territory. Frampton’s best performances have come in Belfast and, in my opinion, he relies on the comfort of his own fans.

“If you look at the press conferences, you see the difference. He was quiet in London, he was quiet in Manchester but, in Belfast, he changed. He got more vocal and started acting like himself a bit more. That shows that he’s a lot more comfortable around his own people.”

Fans of the sport are hoping for a classic and this reporter’s esteemed editor, Doug Fischer, thinks we could be in for the same type of ebb and flow that accompanied the first bout between Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. If he’s right, nobody will be asking for their money back.

Quigg said, “For it even to be compared to Barrera versus Morales is an honor in itself because that was an incredible fight. To be honest, we’re both lucky to have each other and to be as good as we are. I’m world champion and he’s world champion and this is a huge fight that has everyone excited.

“Could it be a classic? Yes, it could be but I could also finish this fight early.”

It’s never guaranteed that a world champion will look ahead, particularly when he is only days away from a defining fight, but Quigg was happy to discuss Guillermo Rigondeaux. The consensus king of the junior featherweight division will make his U.K. debut on March 12, against English prospect James “Jazza” Dickens, and his appearance on British shores is no coincidence.

The Cuban great will be looking to apply pressure on the Frampton-Quigg winner and is already mandatory challenger for the WBA title.

“I’m obviously supporting Jazza and anything can happen in boxing,” said Quigg. “I hope he pulls it off because it would be a massive upset but, truthfully speaking, ‘Rigo’ has to go out and do a job on him. We all know Rigondeaux can box; he’s a phenomenal fighter but he has to put on a display of destruction.

“If Rigo looks spectacular and there’s demand for that fight, then we can go there. But if he comes over and it’s another 10-round snoozer, then it’s a very hard sell. You can sell Rigondeaux to a boxing fan but if Frampton and I are in a classic, then the public will want to see it again.

Quigg continued, “Do you want to see someone chase a guy around the ring for 12 rounds or do you want to see two lads put it all on the line? I’m not taking anything away from Rigo’s skill level but people have to tune in. The frustrating thing is he can go out there and fight but, nine times out of 10, he chooses not to.”

You do feel sorry for all concerned when it comes to Rigondeaux. The Cuban technician is pretty much being told to take chances in a dangerous game or stay in the shadows. Quigg and Frampton get accused of ducking him but the compensation for taking on an almost invisible target is significantly lower than what they can make elsewhere — or with each other.

The long-term future is unclear but the short-term future is not. On Saturday, fans will see two of the very best fighters in their division settle a dispute that goes back to when neither had a significant world ranking. Now they meet as champions in a showdown that was always destined to take place.

“I win this fight because I’m the better fighter,” said Quigg after deliberating. “People comment on the way I train and how I prepare but that’s not what wins this fight. I’m better in every department and I say that without any doubt in my mind. All I’ve got to do is stay composed and execute the game plan. If I do that, I win by knockout or I win on points.

“Personally, I believe that I’ll knock him out.”

Carl Frampton vs. Scott Quigg is available via Sky Box Office in the UK. with the show commencing at 6.00 p.m. Showtime will televise the main event in the US and that broadcast will begin at 5.30 p.m. ET/ PT.

Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

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