Money talks but Northern Ireland's World champion boxer Carl Frampton turns deaf ear
How much is the backing of the Belfast fans worth to world champion Carl Frampton? That was the question posed last night by Scott Quigg's £1.5m offer to the Ulster hero for a fight in Manchester.
And Frampton has dismissed the move from Quigg's Matchroom Sport promoters.
When the 28-year-old was growing up in Tigers Bay, he surely could never have dreamed he would one day have a cheque for £1.5m waved in his direction.
A huge domestic showdown between the bitter rivals has been brewing ever since the pair captured versions of the world super bantamweight title.
And the flames were stoked when WBA champion Quigg entered the ring at the Odyssey after Frampton's successful IBF title defence against Chris Avalos in late February to issue a challenge to the Belfast fighter.
But the 26-year-old really cranked up the pressure on 'The Jackal' and his promoter Barry McGuigan yesterday by showing off a cheque made out to Frampton for £1.5m if he will agree to a fight at the Manchester Arena on July 18.
Frampton has built up one of the biggest followings in boxing during his relentless march to the world crown, which he won by beating Kiko Martinez last September at a specially constructed temporary arena at Titanic Slipways.
A massive crowd of 16,000 roared Frampton to a points victory on what has gone down as an iconic night in Northern Ireland sport.
It was a promotion that received backing from the public purse but Quigg's promoter Matchroom Sport must have known their offer would not be accepted.
They would certainly be aware that Frampton and McGuigan would prefer a Belfast fight - screened by ITV again - while Matchroom want Manchester and Sky pay-per-view.
Matchroom would also want sole promotion rights; McGuigan would sure never allow that.
"My team and I have been in negotiations with Matchroom Sport to co-promote this fight," Frampton explained.
"It has been made very clear to Matchroom Sport throughout the entire negotiation period that this huge domestic fight can only take place as a co-promotion. It is therefore frustrating that Matchroom have deviated from negotiations with this offer."
McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions issued a rather terse statement last night, highlighting surprise at the big-money offer.
"Cyclone Promotions are in negotiations with Matchroom Sport to deliver a co-promotion of this eagerly awaited contest," said the statement.
"Cyclone Promotions have made several attempts to organise a follow-up meeting with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport to progress these negotiations.
"Cyclone Promotions and Carl Frampton are therefore surprised by this public offer to fight in Manchester.
"We recommend Matchroom accept the invitation for a follow-up meeting.
"If Matchroom Sport does not want to meet, Carl Frampton will make an optional defence of his IBF World title this summer."
Quigg stressed that he is desperate to face Frampton.
"I respect Carl as a fighter but I know that I will beat him," Quigg said.
"This is the fight the public wants to see so let's make it happen."