FORMER WBA world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan was never one to back away from a fight, but he did remove himself from the negotiations to match his charge, Carl Frampton, with Scott Quigg.
The two super-bantamweight kings will meet at the Manchester Arena on February 27 as a result of an arduous – and commendable – effort from their respective teams.
McGuigan, who manages Frampton and whose son Shane trains him, has never got on well with Quigg’s promoter Eddie Hearn and had to allow his sons Jake and Blain to hash out the deal.
“It was frustrating for the team because a lot of people were saying they wanted certain things, but it got across the line,” he told Boxing News.
“I knew I had to back away from it and we had to give away certain things for it, like the venue. We couldn’t put it on in Belfast, not even in the summer. We couldn’t put it on in London because the O2 is booked out.
“Manchester has a huge Irish community, it’s 160 miles as the crow flies – it will feel like Belfast.
“It was easy to step away, the boys know me better than I know myself. They’re very capable, steeped in boxing and they know how pernickety I can be at times – maybe too much so. I knew they would be better negotiating [than me].”
Although he maintained that the focus is very much on Quigg, McGuigan also revealed Frampton is eyeing a move to feather and super-featherweight, while also conceding that Guillermo Rigondeaux is still the man to beat at super-bantam.
“This is another [Nigel] Benn-[Chris] Eubank. This is a major, major fight. I genuinely think, around the world, this is the most eagerly anticipated super-bantamweight fight,” he claimed.
“[WBC champion] Julio Ceja doesn’t have the credibility, [Leo] Santa Cruz has gone to featherweight, but that’s still a fight we want.
“Rigondeaux’s negative. He’s amazing, but there are lots of amazing things you can only watch for a certain amount of time. I still think he’s the best super-bantamweight in the world, Carl and Scott are below him. Rigo’s number one in the world, there’s no question about that.
“This game is not just about titles, it’s about money. Does it create money, does it create interest? Santa Cruz and Carl? Yes. Santa Cruz and Scott? Yes. Frampton and Quigg? Absolutely. Santa Cruz and Rigo? Hmm. I’m not saying he should be ignored but he doesn’t bring anything to the table, apart from an incredibly difficult style to beat.
“As Carl’s manager, it’s my responsibility to get him the best fights, the same goes for Al [Haymon, who Frampton recently signed with]. Although we’re 100% focused on February 27, I’m looking at Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jnr. If the money and fights are right, maybe even jumping to super-featherweight.”