In the absence of a hugely significant unification fight between super-bantamweight champions Carl Frampton(20-0, 14KO’s) and Scott Quigg(30-0-2, 22KO’s) this summer, promoter Eddie Hearn has gone some way to try and explain why the fight has not been made.
Hearn represents Quigg, who holds the WBA title, and the two haven’t quite managed to gel during negotiations with IBF champ Frampton and his manager Barry McGuigan. Hearn explained the situation as he sees it in an interview with iFL TV where he answered questions put to him by the fans, one of which accused him of ‘backing the McGuigans into a corner.’
“This is what drives me mental. He [Frampton] was given three offers; one was a £1,500,000 guarantee on our show. One was a fifty-fifty co-promotion on both of our shows. One was a sixty-forty[split of the purse] to the winner on a co-promotion.”
According to Hearn, that first offer was made in an attempt to jump-start talks that had stagnated. But the manner in which he made the announcement -to a room full of reporters to whom he kept showing the heavy cheque- did appear to be a move designed to make the opposition look bad. He explained;
“It’s so frustrating. The reason we came out with the activity around the cheque was; one, it was a complete waste of time the negotiations were going absolutely nowhere. Two, I wanted the public to see just what these people were turning down and what it’s like dealing with them. Three, it was the last chance saloon to make that fight on July 18th.”
That position against Quigg now looks like it will be filled by Kiko Martinez; the man Frampton dethroned for his belt last September. Win, lose or draw Frampton would have been a millionaire if he took that offer, which prompts the question; why didn’t he? Hearn feels Frampton’s manager is the problem, as he allows personal feelings to stand in the way of both young champions making the biggest payday of their careers.
“Barry McGuigan don’t like me so he don’t wanna do a deal with me. It ain’t about Barry McGuigan he’s done, his time’s done in the ring. Brilliant fighter. Now it’s Carl Frampton’s time to earn all the money, and that is being blocked.”
Inflammatory comments like these will go a long way to keeping things nice and frozen between the two parties, especially if McGuigan is a man who holds a grudge like Hearn believes he is. From the outside, it is difficult to ascertain the real reason(s) for this fight not going ahead. The phrase ‘co-promotion’ keeps popping up as if that was the main obstacle; for a smaller outfit like Cyclone Promotions to be given equal footing with the mighty Matchroom Sports. But Hearn has repeatedly stated that he has no problem making that concession so there must be more to it.
In the end, Hearn maintains the major impediment for making this fight is his opposite number McGuigan, who just will not set aside his dislike for Hearn for the benefit of the man he represents.
“Barry McGuigan don’t like me, he won’t even talk to me, he won’t even sit down with me. He’s supposed to be the official manager. I don’t care about Barry McGuigan. I’ll have a conversation with Barry McGuigan, I’ll have a conversation with the worst person in the entire world. I don’t care, if it means I can deliver for my client and my fighter I will have that conversation and I’ll try and do a deal, even if it hurts to do it.”
It is agonising for fans to see fights like this go unmade. Two undefeated world champions in their prime, both from the same neck of the woods(internationally at least), both who have stated their willingness to fight one and other. When they were coming up through the rankings, perhaps the timing wasn’t right. Why jeopardise your standing before you win a title? Now, there is no reason being put out there from either side that makes any sense that is good enough to railroad this meeting.
Hearn and McGuigan have worked together in the past when Frampton had a run of fights on Sky TV. Whatever has transpired between the two since then needs to be resolved. The fighters, the fans and ultimately they are missing out.