Let me throw some numbers at you before we discuss Saturday’s sizzling performance from Carl “The Jackal” Frampton:
- 29 yrs ago his mentor Barry McGuigan was world champion.
- 25 yrs old the age of his trainer Shane McGuigan; 2 year’s Frampton’s junior.
- 16,000 fans watched in the purpose-built Titantic Quarter venue.
- Frampton had 125 Amateur fights, 114 wins, 11 defeats; two-weight Irish champion; European silver medal 2007; 12 international medals.
- 3 yrs ago Brian Magee was the last world champion from Belfast, he held the Interim WBA Super-Middleweight title. Prior to that 19 yrs ago Wayne McCullough was the last man from Belfast to win a world title fight, capturing the WBC Bantamweight title.
- Frampton became the 3rd current British IBF belt holder alongside Super-Middle champion Carl Froch and Welterweight champion Kell Brook.
What a performance, what a night. The atmosphere looked electric and Belfast turned out in the droves for it’s favourite son.
Frampton, 27, put in a career-best performance against former foe Kiko Martinez and duly snatched the belt off the well-travelled Spaniard. The Jackal’s slick footwork was so telling in this fight; Martinez stalked Frampton round the ring like a jilted-ex following an old flame. There only ever looked one winner for me as the Tiger Bay native rocked the Spaniard in the 5th with a huge right and duly dropping him to the canvas.
Martinez, 28, knew he had to go for broke with a knockout to stand any chance of retaining his belt. Despite mid-rounds surge from him, if there was ever going to be a stoppage, it would have come from the Irishman.
An explosive finale in the 12th ensued with Martinez unsteady on his feet. When the final bell sounded, the raucous crowd cheered, Team Frampton embraced as they awaited their fate.
Two verdicts of 119-108 and one of 118-111 crowned a new IBF Super-Bantamweight world champion. Immediately discussion turned to who is next for Frampton. Abner Mares & Leo Santa Cruz both tweeted that they would be willing to fight him; the former offering to come down in weight.
Irishman Gary Hyde the manager of Super-Bantamweight king Guillermo Rigondeaux was in the crowd. With the greatest respect to Frampton, I don’t think he will want any part of that fight. Financially there isn’t anything in it and technically it is a fight The Jackal is highly unlikely to win.
We all know who we want to see him face next; Scott Quigg.
It’s the biggest fight both commercially and technically for either man. Quigg, 25, fights this Saturday at the Phones4U Arena in Manchester against Stephane Jamoye.
In the post-fight interview with Boxnation, the first shells were fired by Team Frampton to Quigg and promoter Eddie Hearn:
“I’ll fight him in Manchester, I’ll fight him anywhere. What Eddie Hearn (Quigg’s promoter) needs to remember is I’m the one with the legitimate belt.”
“I’m the one who brings the fans,” added Frampton, while his manager Barry McGuigan said: “Scott Quigg will draw 800 people in Bury. We had to build an arena to fit in all Carl Frampton’s fans.”
The legitimate belt dig relates to Quigg holding the “Regular” WBA belt, with Rigondeaux holding the “Super” WBA belt.
I hope that ego’s don’t get in the way of allowing this fight to happen; Frampton by the sounds of it wants a larger split, Quigg proposing a 50-50. What I admire about both men is their willingness to fight in the other’s backyard.
If I’m honest I do feel that through no fault of his own Quigg still has something to prove at the elite level. I know from speaking to Eddie Hearn that Matchroom approached Santa Cruz to face Quigg. He was willing to go over there to face him on the Mayweather Maidana 2 undercard for it only to fall on deaf ears.
I feel it is very much “watch this space” on this Frampton v Quigg. I fear talks will be long and protracted. Matchroom’s surprise link-up with Top Rank and Chris Avalos who is mandatory for the IBF within 90 days adds another individual in to the equation.
Three’s a crowd? We will see….