Carl Frampton has support from an unlikely quarter as he bids to become Ireland’s first three-weight world champion this weekend.
The popular Belfastman will be cheered on by former opponent Scott Quigg, the man he shared a ring with in 2016, when he challenges WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring.
Frampton and Quigg had a feud that simmered for years and didn’t really come to the boil on the night they met in the Manchester Arena. Frampton won a drab fight over 12 rounds to unify titles at super-bantamweight but Quigg has retired and has no intentions of returning.
And now the grudge with Frampton is behind him he wishes the Irishman nothing but the best.
“A hundred percent I have a preference; that’s Frampton,” Quigg said, when asked who he wanted to win between Frampton and Herring this weekend as Frampton looks to win a world title at super-feather.
“Regardless of him beating me – [he deserves] every credit for what he’s achieved and hopefully for what he’s going to go on and do on Saturday night. I think it’s a tough fight [against Herring], style-wise and he’s obviously moving up in weight. Can he overcome Herring’s size? He’s definitely got the skill and the ability to do it, but how much does he have left? He’s coming to the back end of his career now but at the same time with what’s on the line, being Ireland’s first three-weight world champion, being with [trainer] Jamie [Moore]… Since he’s linked up with Jamie, he looks like he’s enjoying the training again, he needed that change. I think he’s improving as well. I hope he does it. It’s a tough ask. In my opinion I wouldn’t have him as the favourite but he’s obviously more than capable of winning.”
Scott has bumped into Frampton at some boxing shows since they fought and the pair have been civil and he’s messaged Frampton to wish him well this week. Carl replied with gratitude.
“We crossed paths because of boxing and from my part there’s a lot of respect for him for what he’s done in the sport,” Quigg continued. “I have nothing against him whatsoever just because he beat me. He beat me and that’s that, and he went on to do incredibly well and I hope he does it on Saturday.”
Quigg, who worked with top trainers including Brian Hughes, Joe Gallagher and Freddie Roach, has started training his own boxers, and his 35-3-2 career is looking better with age. There were two losses in his peak years, to Frampton and Oscar Valdez, and then a defeat in his final bout to Jono Carroll in March last year.
Quigg and Valdez shared a gruelling war in March 2018, one that left Quigg with a broken nose and Valdez with a broken jaw. Oscar now holds the WBC super-featherweight crown following a devastating win over Miguel Berchelt in February.
“I thought if anything Berchelt was going to win,” said Quigg. “I’d not seen much of him, I went off when I fought Valdez and I thought if [Valdez] stands and trades with a bigger fella then he might come unstuck. But since linking up with [Eddy] Reynoso he’s improved as well but the performance he put in and the way he beat Berchelt, it makes my performance against him look a bit better. I think back and go through it [his career] and look at what I’ve done and look at the big, big fights I had… I came up short against Frampton and Valdez, the Carroll fight was what it was, I was past it and every credit to him for getting the job done but those two defeats I had, they [Frampton and Valdez] have gone on to bigger and better things and my career does seem to be aging well.”
Quigg credits his mum and dad with supporting him and helping him invest his money, so a comeback is neither wanted nor needed. He remembers how he felt in his final fight and that’s enough for him to know his time has come and gone and that his future lies in training.
Three or four weeks after Carroll he had second thoughts, a year on he has no doubt. It’s over.
“In that last fight, I wasn’t at the races,” he added. “I trained hard and I’d put the work in. I’d been out of the ring a long time and I’d had two bad injuries on the arm, my timing was out, everything was totally out. In training I put the work in and I never cut corners but in sparring and certain things, things weren’t clicking like they used to and I thought I’d get it together on the night. I was still more than confident I was going to go in there and get the job done but when I was in there I just felt like I was a second behind him. If I can’t do it at the level I believe I’m capable of when I was at my best I don’t want to go along and fight for the sake of it and take unnecessary shots. There’s no money big enough worth risking your health.”