WBA World super bantamweight champion Scott Quigg(30-0, 22KO’s) was in Germany over the weekend for his gym mate Paul Smith’s second attempt at dethroning WBO World Super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham. He and Kugan Cassius of iFL TV began by addressing the injury Quigg sustained in his most recent defence when he outpointed Hidenori Otake in November.
“I’d split me index and middle finger tendons in half. I’d like to be in the ring, you know, 150% ready by the end of May, early June. That’s all depending on how this responds when it starts getting some impact on the knuckle.”
And when he returns there is only one man the boxing public would want him to face; IBF World super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton(19-0, 13KO’s). Frampton will make the maiden defence of his title on February 28th against Chris Avalos(25-2, 19KO’s) at home in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Quigg is of the same mind, definitively stating his stance on the matter.
“Hopefully Carl comes through against Avalos, we can make that fight. The thing is it should be so simple, if they [Frampton and his team] want the fight, the fight can be made. There’re no two ways about it. I want the fight. You know, it doesn’t matter where the fight takes place. They say they want the fight, I want that fight and I a million percent, know I will beat him. He’ll think he can beat me. You ask the public you’ll get a split decision on whose gonna win the fight. That’s why the fight’s so big, and hopefully this fight happens, cuz it needs to.”
Where the fight should take, place will be one of many contentious issues once negotiations get under way for this one. Whichever fighter is shown to be the bigger draw, i.e. how many fans are willing to come out and see them fight live, will likely gain home advantage. Who does Quigg believe is the biggest draw out of Frampton and himself?
“In Ireland, him. Over here[meaning England, forgetting for a moment he has recently arrived on the continent], me. If he comes over here, he ain’t selling eight or nine thousand. In Ireland, he is, he’s the main attraction over there, there’s nothing really else in Ireland. Over here in Manchester you’ve got me, Anthony Crola, you got Kell Brook, Carl Froch, Kevin Mitchell; there’re loads of fighters. But over in Ireland it’s just him, he’s the main attraction over there and rightly so.”
But he realises the fight is not about which champion can sell the most tickets.
“The fight itself is as big because it’s both of us. What this fight could generate, he ain’t gonna sell a football stadium fighting Avalos, [Kiko] Martines or anyone else. People wanna see me and him fight.”
This is the latest barometer by which a big fight is measured; can it sell out a football stadium in England? While Carl Froch and George Groves raised the ceiling for what can be achieved when they sold out Wembley Stadium in May last year, they have left an almost unattainable goal for other fighters to try and replicate. I fear this ambition could delay some potential match-ups in the name of building up anticipation for a fight solely for this purpose.
If it is to go ahead, a promotion of that magnitude will take time and a lot of advertising money. Quigg feels there is no reason he and Frampton should not be able to face each other this year, even with his ongoing injury.
“I think 100% it should, and it should be next. Put belts aside or whatever, it’s the fight. If there were no belts, it’s the fight people wanna see. We just have a belt each, and it adds to it.”
But then there is one more road to cross, and it may be the most hazardous to navigate. What channel will the fight be shown on? Quigg is with the Matchroom Sport promotional team who parade their fighters on Sky Sports, a paid channel in the UK. Whereas Frampton’s next fight against Avalos will be his first step onto free T.V on the ITV channel. Eddie Hearn [head of Matchroom Sports] insists this fight should be sold as a ‘pay-per-view’ event, and Quigg agrees. This feels like a major sticking point to me because it has a direct effect on the fighters incomes.
“Yeah. They’re not tied to anyone[meaning Frampton has no long-term agreement to fight on any one particular channel]. Listen, if it could generate the same numbers and figures on ITV as it could on Sky PPV, you’d be stupid to do it on Sky PPV and not ITV because more people are gonna see it, but the numbers don’t match up. It’s a business at the end of the day. That’s what you have a promoter for; that’s why Eddie’s my promoter, and he gets the best deal for me.”
The notion that the same amount of people would see the fight on PPV as on free TV is spurious at best. I think way more people would tune in for the free showing, but the operative word was ‘figures.’ Quigg would probably be looking at less money on ITV, and his promoter is understandably trying to manufacture the largest fee for his client.
“I’d rather beat someone for a million quid than half a million quid. I’ll beat him, but I’d rather do it for the most money.”
Why wouldn’t he want that? And why would he argue with his promoter if he is pursuing that very same objective? The problem develops when these issues delay a fight for years at a time, leaving fans feeling cheated when the bouts they want to see don’t happen. We’re getting to that stage now where frustrations are starting to build. A fight between Quigg and Frampton has been on the agenda for a couple of years now, and there aren’t many more acceptable reasons for it not to be made.