Dave Oakes previews Friday's super-bantamweight clash between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe.
In the past few weeks we’ve seen the best and worst of boxing. First we had the announcement of the Haye v Chisora fight – two boxers benefiting from their loutish and disgraceful behaviour in Germany. Both are seemingly set to make millions whilst dragging the name of boxing into the gutter in a fight which I consider to be unlicensed boxing.
Then we had a fantastic match-up between Froch and Bute, two gentlemen who represent everything that boxing should stand for. And finishing off, we had Pacquiao v Bradley, two champions who put on a good fight only for it to be overshadowed by ludicrous judging. At times it seems boxing doesn’t help itself, it’s often one step forward and two steps back.
Let’s hope this Saturday’s bout between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe is as good as it looks on paper and is free of controversy. Ignore the fact it’s for the interim WBA title (my feelings on interim titles have already been mentioned numerous times, I won’t bore you with them again), this is quite simply, a great match-up between two top rate operators in the super-bantamweight division. It’s a pity casual fans will pay more attention to the freak show that is Haye v Chisora than they will to this fight.
Munroe has fought at world title level before, not forgetting he dominated European boxing for three years prior to that. He put in a noble if unsuccessful effort against Toshiaki Nishioka , losing on points to the classy Japanese fighter. He’s been quiet in the 18 months since, winning three fights against average opponents without having to exert himself fully.
This fight against Quigg provides Munroe with the chance of getting back to world title level. He’ll need to be at to his best if he’s to win, although one senses he’s been waiting for a challenge and will be suitably fired up to produce his best form.
Whilst Munroe has been treading water recently, the unbeaten Quigg has become the star of the division domestically, racking up twenty-four straight wins, including a seven round hammering of Jason Booth to win the British title. With the emergence of Quigg and archrival Carl Frampton, Munroe has become something of a forgotten man, which he alluded to in the press conference on Wednesday.
Despite his unblemished record it’s not always been plain sailing for Quigg, he was dropped in his last bout – a British title defence against Jamie Arthur, and has been dropped earlier in his career. Whilst he responded well both times, questions have been raised about the sturdiness of his chin and will remain until he’s met someone with the power to truly test it.
Quigg is still a work in progress, he’s 80% of the fighter he’s got the potential to be and he needs fights like this to progress to that next level. This fight will be the first time he’ll have fought someone who can match him for strength, size, stamina and work-rate. It should be a chance for him to showcase his skills, which we’ve seen glimpses off up to now but are yet to witness his full arsenal – mainly because he’s not needed to do so.
The most impressive performance of Quigg’s career thus far came in the aforementioned fight with Jason Booth. The Nottingham boxer was past his best but the way Quigg slowly and systematically beat him to submission was very impressive, not only did he use his size and strength advantages, he also consistently beat Booth to the punch and mixed his shots to head and body beautifully. It was a punch perfect performance.
Munroe will surely prove to be a harder proposition, he’s still in his prime and will be in peak condition having benefited from recently turning full-time – the boxing bin-man is no longer doing the rounds. The bookies have Quigg as the odds-on favourite, though the fight itself could well be a lot closer than they expect.
I see this being a nip and tuck affair, both are well conditioned and do the championship distance with ease. Munroe has the edge in experience, whilst Quigg is the fresher, hits harder and may have the edge in speed. If either man wins easily it’ll be a fantastic performance, one that will shock most people. However, the most likely outcome is a close points decision, most probably in favour of Quigg, whose youthfulness and hunger may give him the edge in the late rounds.