RICKY HATTON is urging Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg to keep their cool ahead of their huge super-bantamweight unification clash tomorrow night as the build-up hits fever pitch.
Frampton and Quigg needed to be pulled apart at yesterday’s press conference and fireworks are expected at today’s weigh-in, where 6,000 fans are set to attend.
British boxing legend Hatton, no stranger to a superfight, sees the fractious exchanges before fight night as a chance for Frampton and Quigg to show their championship qualities.
“They’re both very down to earth and they’re both very mature lads. Certain things have been said at press conferences which I’m sure will get under their skin but the good champions can channel that aggression,” he told Boxing News.
“It’s frustrating when people say certain things but that’s when you’ve got to show you’re a true champion – it’s not just about what happens between the ropes but outside them as well, holding your nerve and keeping your cool when the insults are being thrown at each other.
“The best man will hold it together. That’s what champions do.”
With the insults thrown around yesterday, it may be a little late for that though after five years of anticipation, the palpable tension is understandable.
The 122lb titlists will meet at a packed out Manchester Arena, known as the M.E.N Arena when Hatton blew the roof off the place in his heyday, most notably when he forced IBF world super-lightweight champion Kostya Tszyu to retire after 11 rounds in 2005.
Now a promoter and trainer – who previously had Quigg on his books before the Bury man joined Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing – Hatton feels fighters should relish the chance to fight a domestic rival.
The Manchester legend took legions of fans to Las Vegas to fight the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, but a much-desired clash with Sheffield’s Junior Witter failed to materialise earlier in his career.
“We’ve had incredible domestic fights over the years, and this just adds to it,” he said.
“We’ve also got Tyson Fury who could possibly fight David Haye, or Anthony Joshua. It’s a good fight for British boxing. You can’t always fight the superstars like your Floyd Mayweathers or your Manny Pacquiaos so the best way to make a name for yourself is through a domestic rivalry. It doesn’t get much bigger and better than Carl Frampton against Scott Quigg.”
The pair’s respective teams have had plenty of barbs to trade, with Quigg’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, insisting the fight is no different to any other he has prepared for in the past.
Shane McGuigan, Frampton’s taskmaster, has also exuded confidence in the past few weeks, though Hatton is sure both are aware of the magnitude of the fight.
“I really don’t think this is just another day in the office for any of them. Joe is obviously coming off as confident when he says that but I think behind closed doors he and Shane will know it’s a 50-50 fight but they will want their man to dominate. I don’t see it like that, I think it will be very close although I do think either of them could win by knockout, they’ve both got the power to do that.
“It doesn’t matter what Joe or Shane says, if you know your boxing you know it’s a 50-50 fight. It could go either way.
“The trainers and the teams all play their part but at the end of the day when the bell goes it’s just Scott and Carl in there, and that’ll be the end of it.”