Boxing fans, and the sport’s media are more prone to knee jerk reactions than those of any other athletic endeavour. With every fight that passes, a new consensus emerges.
Going into this weekend’s action the majority of observers would have held Carl Frampton in higher regard than his super-bantamweight peer Scott Quigg. In the aftermath of their performances on Saturday night, however, things have taken a sharp turn.
While the Lancashire lad, Quigg, looked explosive in annihilating pint sized puncher, Kiko Martinez, Frampton had a much tougher time. The Belfast native was dropped twice in winning a unanimous decision against unheralded Mexican, Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., in El Paso, Texas.
The stark contrast has changed the stock of both fighters.
Frampton even admitted in an interview with the BBC, shortly after his exit from the ring, that he could see how their performances may have swung opinion. “People were thinking probably Frampton wins, now they are thinking probably Quigg wins”, said the Belfast fighter. Frampton continued, “But that’s boxing”.
It certainly is.
Although the reactionary nature of boxing analysis may be a little over the top, it is certainly not a bad thing for the sport. In fact, it can be a very good thing. Uncertainty over the outcome of a fight, for whatever reason, real or perceived, only adds to the intrigue.
On the other hand, it is bad for the sport when the speculation is never ending, or when lingering questions are left unanswered.
Unfortunately, this may turn out to be one of those occasions. At a time when a bout between Quigg and Frampton is a more tantalizing prospect than ever before, it has never been so far from becoming a reality.
Usually, in the period immediately following a Quigg or Frampton bout there is renewed talk of a showdown. There is normally some promotional posturing, or a financial offer is put on the table. This time, however, there is little indication that any attempts are being made to reach a deal.
Comparisons continue, of course, particularly from Quigg’s side, as he is the one with the bragging rights after his most recent performance. While Quigg dispatched of Martinez in two rounds, Frampton had to go the full 12 against the former title holder in their last meeting.
Eddie Hearn, Quigg’s promoter, isn’t going to let anyone forget that.
Yesterday, Hearn told the Mirror’s website that he believes Frampton “wouldn’t last six rounds with Scott Quigg”. He also stated that he is expecting that “Frampton will now move up to feather as an excuse for avoiding the fight”.
The latter comment is less speculative than the first, as Frampton himself was quick to suggest that weight issues were a factor in his difficulties on Saturday night. In his post fight interview on American television “The Jackal” said that a move up to featherweight may be in the very near future.
If Frampton decides to make the 4lbs jump in weight, the fight will become a very unlikely prospect, as Quigg has no intentions of moving away from super-bantamweight for the time being. Eddie Hearn has already told a variety of media sources that Quigg’s next fight could be a match-up with former five weight belt holder Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire. Hearn told the Mirror that the fight was “a real possibility for November or December”.
To add to the mix, Irish boxing manager Gary Hyde, yesterday told the Ring magazine’s website that he had also entered into the negotiations with Hearn, on behalf of his fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux. Hyde stated that the Cuban, who is the lineal world champion at super-bantamweight, would have no problem travelling to Manchester for a bout with Quigg.
At this point it seems as though neither side has any real interest in pursuing this massive fight. Frampton looks to be on the move, and Quigg has a whole host of viable, big name options. Combine this with the swath of promotional and managerial barriers that have always blocked the path to this mouth-watering bout, and it would be hard to remain hopeful.
The only real chance of this fight coming to fruition is if, like the fans and the media, team Frampton has re-evaluated their position in the wake of this weekend’s events. Given the, previously discussed, reactionary character of the boxing stock exchange, a change of heart wouldn’t be out of the question.
Frampton’s manager, Irish boxing legend, Barry McGuigan told the Irish Times back in April, that the main reason recent negotiations broke down was a disagreement over the purse split. According to McGuigan, Eddie Hearn was unwilling to accept a 60-40 purse split in Frampton’s favour. The Quigg camp sought a 50-50 split, or a 60-40 in favour of the winner.
McGuigan explained to Boxing News that they weren’t prepared to move on the figures because they had the bargaining power. “We’ve got the gravitas, Carl’s got the valid title, he’s a headline act.”, said the strong willed “Clones Cyclone”.
One has to wonder though if team Frampton would still be such an immovable object, having taken recent events into account.
This is another in the long line of modern boxing’s disappointing negotiation saga’s. There has been dueling of every kind outside the ring, and in the press, but not where it matters – in the ring. If all of this drama eventually leads to a fight, then no harm done. In fact, it will only serve to enhance the build-up.
If, however, the showdown is never delivered, it will be another bruise on the sport of boxing’s already damaged facade, and will tarnish the legacy of two very capable fighters.