DISCUSSIONS are ongoing to see if a fight between super-bantamweight rivals Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg can be made. Quigg holds a ‘regular’ title from the WBA, who do have imperious Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux installed, confusingly, as their Super super-bantamweight champion. The Bury man won a sequence of bouts in good style last year. Frampton, the full IBF champion, has a tremendous following in Belfast and halted Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena last month, with Quigg watching from ringside. Both boxers want the big fight.
But the television platform could be a stumbling block. ITV 1 broadcast Frampton’s last fight, the first time the channel has shown a world title bout since Carl Froch’s 2008 humdinger with Jean Pascal. Barry McGuigan, Frampton’s manager, wants to bring the sport to the large audience of a terrestrial channel. “Let’s do the Benn-Eubank thing,” he urged after the fight. (Click HERE to read more about Barry McGuigan’s vision for the sport).
But Eddie Hearn, Quigg’s promoter, is unenthused at the thought of taking that major domestic clash away from Sky Box Office. “It’s all very nice these other broadcasters popping in every now and again but where’s the long term investment? Sky have been investing in boxing for years and years and years. Brilliant for Channel 5, brilliant for ITV to pop in every now and again but as a promoter I can’t work with a broadcaster that does three or four shows a year,” he said.
While not ruling out ITV getting the fight, he argued that, if Frampton-Quigg could pull in 400,000 to 500,000 buys at £16.95 on pay-per-view, it could generate something in the region of £7 million. “I’m determined to offer the best deal for the fighters,” Hearn continued. “If ITV come up tomorrow and said there’s five million quid or there’s whatever, no problem. But you can’t go to a fighter and say, ‘Listen it’s really good exposure but it’s a fifth or even a tenth of the money that I could get you elsewhere.’ What do they think, that Sky Sports is bad exposure? Have you seen the build up to Box Office events? Carl Froch hasn’t done too bad out of it, David Haye didn’t do too bad out of it, Ricky Hatton didn’t do too bad out of it. So I don’t buy all that exposure stuff. Great to have a big audience, you know what I mean, but even better to have a load of money for the fighters at the end of it.”
Barry McGuigan’s hugely successful fighting career was broadcast on terrestrial television and he saw the benefits in building Carl Frampton’s profile more broadly. “He already is a star but I think he’s going to be a crossover star. Terrestrial television gives us a really good chance of achieving that,” McGuigan told us before the Avalos fight.
Where does this leave us? Talks to make the fight continue, but confidence an agreement can be found is low. “Everyone wants it but I think we’re going to make some moves, someone’s got to take the bull by the horns. We’re never going to agree on the split. So maybe it’s time to make an offer, maybe an offer they can’t refuse,” Hearn said.
If Scott Quigg isn’t to fight Frampton, he could still take on an eye-catching name in his next fight. That could be Nonito Donaire, who would also be an appealing opponent to Frampton’s team too.
“We have to make a big statement. I love the Donaire fight, whether that’s to go to America, we’ve already talked to [Al] Haymon about doing something big in America,” said Eddie Hearn. “Whether it’s even Rigondeaux. Just turn round and say we’ll fight Rigondeaux. What have we got to lose? Everyone will sit back and go, ‘Wow.’ He’s ready to fight anyone. Of course Rigondeaux is the best really, very difficult to beat. But there comes a time when you go if no one wants to fight me…
“He needs a fight like that. If he doesn’t get the Frampton fight, it won’t be a standard voluntary. He’s served his time in that respect and he knows that. But he hasn’t been easy to match. Not a lot of people want to fight Scott Quigg.”