By Frank Warren
Debates rage over whether Belfast’s Carl Frampton or Bury’s Scott Quigg is presently Britain’s premier super-bantamweight.
The score can only be settled when the protagonists inevitably collide between the ropes. But while the Lancastrian has the WBA world title, it is incontestable that Frampton is the far bigger attraction.
Quigg cemented his claim beneath the shadow of Olympic super-heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua in front of a sparse crowd at the O2 Arena three weeks ago. By contrast, Belfast’s Odyssey Arena was full to the rafters to witness the ‘The Jackal’ retain his European title against a brave and out classed Frenchman last weekend.
Frampton, who marries childhood sweetheart Christine today, dominated from the outset before terminating with a single crippling left hook to the rib cage in round six.
The fervour surrounding Frampton is developing into an unstoppable tsunami, similar to that generated by his mentor Barry McGuigan who united the feuding Ulster communities when storming to the WBA featherweight title back in the 1980s.
McGuigan insists that Frampton has the potential to evolve into a bigger talent and bigger attraction than he was. And he might be right!
Twenty six year old Frampton should contest a world title in his next fight. He’ll be ringside in Elche, Spain on December 21st to cement his claim when IBF king Kiko Martinez – whom he has already knocked out – makes a mandatory defence against veteran South African Jeffrey Mathebula.
Expect the victor of that one to be offered a purse that’s impossible to reject to accommodate Frampton in Belfast in the New Year.
Boxing needs huge stars to flourish and young Frampton is certainly maturing into one of those.
When Kell Brook and I parted ways in April 2011, the Sheffield welter was undefeated in 23 fights and mandatory challenger to then WBO champion Manny Pacquiao.
Two and a half years on, he is no closer to debuting at world title level. Having twice cried off from scheduled challenges to IBF champion Devon Alexander in the USA earlier this year, the 27 year old continues to procrastinate. This evening, at The Motorpoint Arena in his home city, Brook fights Vyacheslav Senchenko in yet another ‘eliminator’.
The Ukrainian was once WBA champion but is best known for dousing Ricky Hatton’s comeback plans last November, stopping a pale version of the ‘Hitman’ in nine rounds.
Hatton was actually dominating that fight until his petrol tank emptied and, if Brook is to have any kind of future at elite level, he’ll need to come through in impressive fashion this evening.
Regardless, with champion Alexander tied up with a defence against Ohio’s unbeaten Shawn Porter in Texas on November 30th, it’s highly unlikely that Brook – already in his tenth year as a pro – will step inside a world championship ring before next spring.
Though the ‘Pacman’ was a feared force back when I manoeuvred Brook into that mandatory slot, he’s not scored a stoppage win since and has suffered two defeats.
If Pacman had his mandatory against Brook, Kell would have been handsomely remunerated and might even have got lucky. Food for thought.
Modern great Bernard Hopkins enters his fiftieth year next January and can’t continue forever so connoisseurs need to savour him whilst they still can.
‘The Executioner’, who extended his own record as the oldest fighter to win a recognised world championship by comprehensively schooling Florida’s Tavoris Cloud last March, is one of the shrewdest, best conditioned and most tactically astute operators in the history of prize fighting. He is blessed with the nous and technique to have flourished in any era.
Tonight he opens the defence of his IBF light-heavyweight strap against Karo Murat at The Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City. The Iraq born, German based challenger is 18 years Hopkins’ junior and has only lost to Nathan Cleverly in 27 pro starts.
These days, ‘BHop’ is battling Father Time as much as his opponents and I think it’ll be closer than most anticipate. Nevertheless, expect the old master to retain with a narrow points decision.
Feted WBO middleweight king Peter Quillan and heavyweight anaesthetist Deontay Wilder, who has wiped out all 29 opponents inside four rounds, head a strong undercard. BoxNation broadcast all the action live in the UK.
Doncaster bantamweight Jamie McDonnell has paid the ultimate price for listening to the wrong voices.
This week the 27 year old was stripped of the IBF title he’d battled to win in May, before he was accorded the chance to capitalise by defending the belt.
For his title winning spat against undefeated Mexican banger Julio Ceja, manager Dennis Hobson dug deep into his pockets to secure McDonnell home turf at Donny’s Keepmoat soccer stadium, without the buffer of TV funding.
Hobson did his conkers to deliver his kid the life changing chance, gambling that he’d recoup in title defences if McDonnell was triumphant.
The fighter repaid his benefactor’s faith by attempting to terminate their contract, citing a lack of fights. As legendary manager Mickey Duff famously quipped: ‘If you want loyalty, buy a dog!’
Whatever. McDonnell failed to supply the IBF with a signed contract to defend against mandated challenger Yusi Malinga of South Africa within the stipulated time frame.
It is probable that Darlington’s Stuey Hall – a man clearly beaten by McDonnell two years ago – will now square off with Malinga for the vacant title.
McDonnell would have been wise to have had waited for the BBBofC’s decision on his complaint, before announcing he was on the undercard of Froch v Groves.
McDonnell’s plight should serve as a warning to the growing number of fighters who believe the grass will be greener after having sugar blown up their arses.
The British Boxing Board of Control – who insist that all UK fighters are tied to their statutory contracts – has a complaints procedure to arbitrate when fighters and their managers fall into dispute. That’s the process which needs to be followed. McDonnell opted not to and is now suffering the consequences.
Licence holders have a right to expect that the contracts which the Board insist they sign are honoured and properly policed. If not, the business disintegrates into a state of anarchy. Arsenal’s Jack Wilshire can’t suddenly contact the FA and say he’ll play for Spurs next week. Why do boxers think that they can ignore contracts and swap allegiances without any redress?
Recently, I’ve been forced to pursue action against fighters who opted to jump ship.
My court case is ongoing with the WBO lightweight Champion Ricky Burns. Such matters take time to get to trial and, fighters should be aware, the resulting damages and costs can be considerable.
The latest former fighter to hit the skids is Norwich heavyweight Herbie Hide. This week the former two-time WBO champion, now 42, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Presently under curfew, Hide has been warned that he is likely to cop a two year stint in the slammer when he goes up for sentencing on November 29th.
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