You get the feeling that Scott Quigg quietly seethes when it is suggested his best days are in the past. The former WBA super-bantamweight champion has been out of the ring for 15 months, largely because of injury, but if he beats Jono Carroll at Manchester Arena on Saturday night, he believes he will be on the cusp of another world-title shot, this time at super-featherweight.
“If I didn’t think that I could be world champion again, I wouldn’t be boxing,” the 31-year-old said. “I don’t need to box for financial reasons.
“I box because I love it and I am still improving. I still believe there is more to come. That is why I am still boxing. I believe I will be world champion again.”
It is four years since he had the biggest night of his life, also in Manchester, when he faced Carl Frampton in a much anticipated world-title unification match and two years since he lost to Oscar Valdez in the pouring rain in Los Angeles in what would have been a challenge for the WBO featherweight title if he had made the weight.
But his low profile since then has not dimmed the ambition.
“This potentially put me right there for a title shot, maybe one step away,” he said. “I’ve been out of the ring for quite a while. The time I have been out has not been wasted. I have been in the gym, I was not able to use my hands for much of that time, but I was still living a healthy lifestyle.
“I am expecting to put in a good performance on Saturday and if I can get a world title shot straight away, if it gets me closer and I need one more fight after this, then that is no problem either.”
He is also back with Joe Gallagher, the trainer who got plenty of stick for the tactics against Frampton, having been with Freddie Roach at the Wildcard gym in Hollywood for most of the time since.
Quigg suggested that the switch was as much due to problems renewing his United States visa as anything else, but the return to Gallagher had worked out well.
“I’m enjoying boxing the most I have for a long time,” Quigg said. “I still love going to the gym, I am learning every day. My style is my style and I am who I am.
“I went to Freddie and I would have gone back out there, but I had visa problems. But going back with Joe has just freshened things up again and this is one of the happiest camps I have had. I’ve grafted hard, I’ve trained smart for this.”
Carroll, who lost on points to Tevin Farmer for the IBF super-featherweight title last year, had plenty to say to Quigg when they squared up to each other at Friday’s weigh-in. Quigg shoved Carroll in the face after the Irishman grabbed his bicep as he stood on the scales, although all Carroll’s anger seemed largely theatrical.
“I respect anybody who climbs between those ropes, no matter what level they get to,” Quigg said.
“I believe he trains hard, but the best Scott Quigg beats the best Jono Carroll.”