Belfast Telegraph

Silence of two men in eye of storm only adding to rumours

By Ciarán Gallagher

Three weeks have passed since Carl Frampton's ill-fated bout against Mexican Andres Gutierrez was postponed.

The Jackal's fighting future has become the subject of much speculation, most of it surrounding Frampton's promotional arrangements and the fate of his relationship with Barry McGuigan.

But the idle talk took a more serious turn this week when BBC Northern Ireland reported that Frampton's eight-year partnership with McGuigan "may be close to ending".

And silence from both men since that Wednesday report has only fuelled speculation suggesting a split is inevitable after the BBC cited "reliable sources" when claiming the manager-fighter relationship (left) is "beginning to unravel".

Frampton is holidaying in Galway and it is understood he's reluctant to make any comment on the matter while taking a break with his family. Meanwhile, McGuigan and Cyclone had maintained a deafening silence until a statement yesterday confirmed the bout against Gutierrez will not be rescheduled.

The statement also said: "We are currently working to arrange a date for a new fight and we are confident that Carl Frampton will become a world champion again."

It is believed that Cyclone is reluctant to directly address the split rumours for a number of reasons - chief among them being the uncertainty surrounding Frampton's next ring date, while it is also preoccupied with the financial impact of the cancelled Gutierrez bout. With revenue from ticket sales, TV money and other income lost, Cyclone is counting the cost of the cancellation.

The revelation that Frampton's formal resignation as a director of Cyclone was rubberstamped just eight days before the cancelled fight has only added to the conspiracy theories.

While it is understood that Frampton's managerial contract with McGuigan and a promotional deal with Cyclone currently remain in place, it does appear that there are obvious tensions in the camp.

Leo Santa Cruz's immediate U-turn on a promise of a Belfast grudge match kickstarted that run of woes and it is believed that a failure to book an alternative homecoming summer fight at Windsor Park was another particularly sore point.

The Tigers Bay man recently expressed his desire to fight for a world title before Christmas, which has led to assumptions that Cyclone must deliver a bout against Lee Selby. However, the financial realities of last month's cancellation are likely to impact on hopes of hosting such a bout.

Having already made ties with influential US boxing figure Al Haymon, it seems likely Frampton's future lies across the Atlantic as time is of the essence in terms of big-money fights to be booked while the 30-year-old is at his peak.

Even if reports of a promotional split prove accurate, it would not necessarily spell the end of Frampton's relationship with the McGuigans as managerial and training arrangements with Barry and Shane could theoretically be maintained. This week's report led many to recall McGuigan's infamous fallout with his own manager Barney Eastwood, but considering the acrimonious nature of that, it would take a shocking turn of events for the Frampton-McGuigan fairytale to fall apart in the same rancorous manner.

Both have shown great loyalty to each other throughout their nine-year relationship, but until they publicly address the speculation, this topic will remain the talk of town in Belfast, and much further afield.

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