Carl Frampton on Scott Quigg: ‘I expect to win convincingly’
By inference, unification fights should be competitive although there are exceptions. Recently Gennady Golovkin was a massive favorite to swat aside David Lemieux in their IBF/WBA middleweight title bout and, as expected, “Triple G” had things his own way prior to the inevitable stoppage.
According to most experts, the Carl Frampton-Scott Quigg showdown, which takes place this Saturday in Manchester, England, is a fish of a different stripe. In terms of evenly-matched unification bouts, think Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns, Oscar De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad and Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield. When there’s very little to separate the competitors, this type of event is special.
The disconcerting thing is that neither Frampton nor Quigg understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to their opponent. The former has hinted for weeks that he will exert tactical superiority and barely take a punch in anger, whereas the latter has stated time and again that he will tame “The Jackal” inside the distance, perhaps put him to sleep early.
“Quigg is telling himself that but I don’t know if he actually believes it,” said Frampton, who will defend his IBF 122-pound title and challenge for the WBA version. “He knows that the only chance he’s got is to land a big punch and get lucky. The thing is, if I produce the same form that I have in training, then that won’t happen.
“(Former RING cruiserweight champion/former WBA heavyweight titlist) David Haye watched me spar the other night and compared me to a prime (Yuriorkis) Gamboa. The things I’ve been doing in the gym are unbelievable, and if I bring that on fight night, then Quigg isn’t even going to land on me. It will be an easy fight; you can mark my words.”
Frampton, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, believes he has more variety and that his fluid, sharpshooting style will be too much for the Englishman to handle. But while Quigg doesn’t appear to have the same improvisation, his own skills are undeniable and he believes his punching power will be decisive, given the success Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. enjoyed in Texas versus Frampton last July.
“I was just very complacent going into that fight,” said Frampton, who survived two first round knockdowns to prevail by unanimous decision. “When I got to El Paso, I saw Gonzalez walking around the hotel and he was really tall and skinny so I’m saying to myself, ‘I’m gonna burst this lad open.’
“That was the wrong attitude to have and everything was just too relaxed. When I fight in Belfast, or anywhere else, I finish my training sessions, chill out in a hotel, go for a walk and go to bed. That’s my routine. In El Paso, it was hot; there was a pool and we were having a good time. Complacency was the issue and Gonzalez knocked that out of me in the first round.”
The Gonzalez bout was available on network television in the UK and was also broadcast by CBS as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series. Frampton, like boxing mogul and adviser Al Haymon is determined to bring the sport to the masses and, despite defecting to the UK pay-per-view market for his grudge match with Quigg, that mission remains a top priority.
“I would love to keep boxing on terrestrial television,” said THE RING’s No. 3 rated junior featherweight. “This fight had to be on pay-per-view because it’s the only way it was ever going to get made. In this case, that’s good for me and it’s good for my family because the potential is there to make a lot of money and have financial security for a long time.
“Personally though, I want to get back on terrestrial television because I really enjoyed the platform that ITV (in the UK and Ireland) and CBS gave me. Larger audiences get the opportunity to see you and, as I’ve said before, it’s a working man’s sport and a lot of people can’t afford pay-per-view shows.”
A lot of people couldn’t get tickets for Frampton versus Quigg either. The 20,000 available tickets sold out in minutes and the Manchester Arena will be a seething cauldron by fight time. Quigg, the home fighter, has stated more than once that he’s accustomed to the venue and that his opponent will be inconvenienced by living out of a hotel room in hostile territory.
“Even when I’m fighting in Belfast, I’m not allowed to sleep with the wife because my manager (Barry McGuigan) doesn’t trust me,” countered Frampton before laughing his way through the obvious explanation. “Barry thinks I’ll be at home trying to get the leg over, so I always stay at a hotel during fight week.
“I have someone there to cook my food and I just like to chill out and relax. It’s going to be exactly the same this time and the only difference will be that it’s a different hotel room. There will be no swimming pools or sunbathing like there was in El Paso either.”
Just as was the case with Quigg, this reporter had no choice but to bring up the subject of Guillermo Rigondeaux. Despite the fact that the immensely talented Cuban has been stripped of THE RING, WBA and WBO titles, he remains the consensus best fighter in the 122-pound weight class.
Frampton relishes the opportunity of facing him but, understandably, hinted toward the same business angle as Quigg.
“I would love that fight because I see him as the top dog in the division,” said the Belfast man with respect. “I’m not going to start calling myself the best junior featherweight in the world because I take care of Scott Quigg. ‘Rigo’ is the man to beat but a lot depends on what happens in this fight.
“I believe I have the style and the balls to give Rigo problems. You need balls to win that fight because you must be prepared to take stick in order to get in his face. He’ll be hitting you clean early but if you can force him to work at a high pace, then things could change in the second half.
Frampton continued, “I believe I can beat Rigo but we’ll have to review all the options after February 27. If the fight with Quigg turns out to be a great fight, or even a bit controversial, then the public will demand a rematch. Like I say though, I can’t see that happening and I expect to win convincingly.”
The majority of experts foresee a close fight that could go either way – two of the very best junior featherweights in the world do not.
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 United States 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.