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Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg: the showdown that had to happen

By David Kelly

Published 07/11/2015

Showdown: IBF world super-bantamweight
champion Carl Frampton
Showdown: IBF world super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton

In boxing you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. Both Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg will leave the Manchester Arena on February 27 wealthy young men, thanks to the cards played by their respective camps.

By the time both Cyclone Promotions and Matchroom promotions have tallied up all the income from 20,000 ticket sales and the expected pay-per-view revenue the fighters will have received the biggest pay-days of their careers.

Frampton's IBF World title belt will be on the line, along with the WBA crown as Quigg has been upgraded by the governing body from their 'regular' champion to their main title holder - with gifted Guillermo Rigondeaux declared a 'champion in recess' due to inactivity. The Cuban - a future opponent for either Frampton or Quigg - has also been recently stripped of his WBO belt.

Earlier this week the deal was rubber-stamped live on Sky Sports, much to the excitement of every British and Irish fight fan as social media went into a frenzy and supporters quickly got on to organise flights and accommodation. Tickets are expected to be released very shortly. There was a sense of relief as well that after months of talks the mouthwatering clash was sealed.

As far back as 2011 the two men - separated by just two years - were being linked together for a fight that the British boxing fraternity would be keen to see. Frampton was Commonwealth super-bantamweight champion, Quigg the British title holder but they were on parallel lines as they pursued a route towards World honours.

While the debate over who would win should they meet continued to heat up with every new notch on their unbeaten records, by 2013 there was no argument as to who was the biggest attraction at the box office. Northern Ireland's sports fans took Frampton to their hearts when he stepped up to face former World champion Kiko Martinez at the Odyssey Arena. This was the acid test and he delivered in style, stopping the Spaniard in emphatic fashion.

The Jackal had lift-off and while some feared that a subsequent split from Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn - now the promoter of Quigg - would see his career suffer, he simply soared and under the guidance of manager Barry McGuigan his appeal went far beyond everyday sports fans.

Hearn was still keeping his eye on Frampton and the first offer was sent flying his way for a showdown with Quigg in 2013. A purse of £250,000 was on the table and at the time it seemed mightily attractive to most but Frampton's stock was rising at a pace and after winning the IBF World title he was leaving Quigg behind.

But Quigg raised his game and claimed a version of the WBA world title and following Frampton's successful mandatory defence of his title earlier this year against Chris Avalos, Hearn went on live television to publicly offer the 29-year-old Belfast man a purse of £1.5m. That came after some secret talks to make the fight for the summer and negotiations consequently broke down.

Some felt the optimum time for the clash had passed but after Frampton's below-par victory on his American debut and Quigg's knock-out of Martinez, further talks ensued between Hearn and Jake McGuigan, Barry's son.

The cut of the revenue was always a sticking point, as Frampton rightly felt it should be 60-40 in his favour, while the Manchester Arena was also agreed as the venue, even though a neutral stage had been mooted.

"This was the third time we had gone into negotiations with Eddie Hearn to make the fight with Quigg but it was clear from the start that this was the best chance to make it happen," revealed Jake.

"Whereas before I felt I was getting mixed message at times from the Quigg camp, this time there seemed to be a greater determination and desire to make sure that we could get an agreement. 

"The negotiations were still a drawn out affair because we had to make sure that Carl got the best deal, the deal he deserved for the most lucrative fight of his career, but there was never any real concern from my side that we couldn't come to an agreement.

"The only pressure that I felt was the fact that Carl had been ordered by the IBF to make his mandatory title defence against the Japanese fighter Shingo Wake.

"But we managed to iron that issue out in time, to allow Carl to have this World title unification with Quigg who holds the WBA belt."

Now preparations will begin for the big sell, with press conferences being lined up for Manchester, Belfast and London. It is without doubt one of the most eagerly awaited fights in the world.

Roll on February 27.

Belfast Telegraph

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