By Keith Idec
Scott Quigg wants Carl Frampton to beat Nonito Donaire next month.
Quigg figures if he upsets Oscar Valdez on Saturday night and Frampton defeats Donaire, it’ll build momentum for their rematch. England’s Quigg suffered his only professional loss to Northern Ireland’s Frampton, a split-decision defeat two years ago in their super bantamweight championship unification fight in Manchester, England.
Quigg wanted an immediate rematch, but Frampton understandably pursued back-to-back featherweight title fights against Leo Santa Cruz in the United States. Taking the WBO featherweight title from Valdez would make Quigg an appealing opponent for Frampton later this year, but Quigg isn’t sure his rival can overcome even a diminished Donaire on April 21 in Belfast.
“I’m not sure,” Quigg told BoxingScene.com. “It all depends. I don’t know much Donaire’s got left and I don’t know how much Frampton’s got left. [Frampton] didn’t look his sharpest in his last fight, but he changed his training team, so that could’ve had something to do with it. So I’m expecting Frampton to look a lot better and have his mind focused more on this.”
Mexico’s Horacio Garcia floored Frampton in the seventh round of his last bout, November 18 in Belfast. The 31-year-old Frampton (24-1, 14 KOs) came back from that debatable knockdown to beat Garcia (33-4-1, 24 KOs) by unanimous decision, though their fight seemed more competitive than the scores indicated (98-93, 98-93, 97-93).
Regardless, Quigg thinks that 10-round bout provided more questions about Frampton than answers entering his fight against Donaire (38-4, 24 KOs).
The 35-year-old Donaire, meanwhile, is 5-1 since Jamaica’s Nicholas Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) stopped him in the sixth round of their featherweight title fight in October 2014. Donaire most recently out-pointed Mexico’s Ruben Hernandez (23-3-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-rounder September 23 in San Antonio.
“Look, we all know Nonito Donaire is not the same fighter he was,” Quigg said. “But I think Nonito Donaire beats the Frampton that was in [Frampton’s] last fight. I think it’s a real close fight and it all depends on who turns up on what level on the night.”
The 29-year-old Quigg obviously realizes he, too, has accepted a very difficult assignment Saturday night at StubHub Center in Carson, California (ESPN; 10:30 p.m. ET). But if he can knock off Mexico’s Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs), who has shown vulnerability in each of his last two title defenses, Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs) would love to fight Frampton next.
“It would be a big fight,” Quigg said. “Obviously, I’ve gotta beat Oscar Valdez and become champion again. And he’s gotta beat Nonito Donaire. If he gets beat with Nonito Donaire, there’s no point in fighting him, is there? I wanted that fight [a rematch] straight away. He didn’t want it. So he doesn’t have anything to bargain with.
“The main thing is we’ve both got big fights. I hope he wins against Nonito Donaire. Obviously, I’ve gotta get the job done against Valdez. If we both get wins, then I’m sure that fight definitely would happen.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.