I couldn’t help but spare a thought for Frank Warren as his turf war with rival Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions took a new twist this week.
Warren probably felt he had won promoter supremacy in the super bantamweight division when European and IBF Intercontinental titlist Carl Frampton left Matchroom to join his stable last month.
But on Wednesday, Hearn fought back by announcing the signing of British champ and WBA “interim” world title holder Scott Quigg from Ricky Hatton’s company.
Quigg’s career has been on hold since his defeat of Rendall Munroe in November, with Hatton struggling to make big matches for him in the absence of a significant TV deal, but he will now be back in action on June 29 in Bolton.
Warren can take some consolation from the fact that, in the meantime, Frampton’s star has risen to the point that it is he who is now the UK’s prominent 122-pounder.
British fight fans are no doubt a little confused as to whether or not these developments will bring a Frampton-Quigg showdown closer to fruition. With Hearn apparently turning down Warren’s offer to make the bout in September, it may still be some time before the rivals meet.
Hearn makes the point that both boxers are understandably more interested in fighting for world titles than resolving domestic disputes. So we are unfortunately likely to have to wait until the tail-end of 2014 for the battle of the Brit bantamweights.
Quigg is the top-ranked challenger for the WBA world strap, but that is held by Guillermo Rigondeaux who is generally acknowledged to be the star of the division – and with the Bury boxer still shaking off the ring-rust, it is unlikely to be a fight he will want to rush into.
Frampton is in both the WBA and WBC top-10 lists and third in the IBF rankings, as well as the holder their Intercontinental belt, so a world title shot against current holder Jhonatan Romero could be within reach for the man from Tiger’s Bay.
Assuming both UK boxers avoid anything but the narrowest of losses in the meantime, a showdown between the two for a world strap late next year does still make for a mouth-watering prospect.
Frampton put in an exciting, if occasionally nail-biting performance to defeat Kiko Martinez for the EBU title in February, subjecting the tough Spaniard to his first-ever knockout in the process.
It was an impressive display against a fighter that put him under constant pressure and can really bang – with Frampton showing punching power of his own, as well as the ability to soak up some big hits.
What was more concerning was the regularity with which he took those hits, especially in rounds seven and eight, as his guard began to drop in preparation for finding a big shot to end the fight.
A beautiful short right to the point of the chin in round nine finally saw off Martinez, but Quigg – who had a front-row seat for the fight – may have seen some chinks in the Frampton armour that he could store up for future reference.
Quigg is a thoughtful fighter, as demonstrated by his methodical dismantling of Munroe in November. His work was considerably less flashy than his opponent’s, but fighting from behind a tight defence he made every punch count and had clearly worked out that Munroe was vulnerable to body-shots.
Not that Quigg is averse to a scrap, as he proved by coming back from a knockdown to beat gritty Welshman Jamie Arthur in February 2012, another huge body-shot bringing about the stoppage in the seventh session.
Despite being a year-and-a-half younger than Frampton at 24, the Bury man has amassed a record of 25 wins with 18 KO’s, and no defeats. Frampton is also undefeated with 16 wins and 11 KO’s, but could argue that his recent victories have come against higher-quality opposition than Quigg’s – his last seven fights have been against opponents with no more than three losses on their records, including Martinez and former IBF world champ Steve Molitor.
Against this, Quigg could point out that Munroe had beaten Martinez twice earlier in his career, and that Molitor was coming to the end of his when facing Frampton.
These are exactly the sort of arguments that whet the appetite for potential boxing clashes - but they will only be resolved for sure if and when the two fighters finally step into the ring together.
Until then, I’ll be joining other fight fans crossing their fingers that these two talented British super-bantamweights can meet for a world title as soon as possible.
Chas Early | Follow on Twitter