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Frampton vs Quigg: Fight preview and analysis

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Dave Oakes breaks down tomorrow's big fight between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg.

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Whilst there doesn't seem to be any genuine hatred between the pair, there has been a simmering rivalry that's been building over the past few years. There has been a bit of silliness in the past few days but the majority of that seems to have come from the trainers and promoters rather than the boxers themselves. Apart from a little push and shove at the final presser, Frampton and Quigg have remained reasonably cordial with each other.

Both have progressed at a similar rate in their careers, with both winning domestic titles before moving onto world honours. Frampton was the first to a title when winning the Commonwealth belt in September of 20011, stopping Mark Quon in the fourth round of a one-sided affair. Quigg followed that a month later by winning the British title against Jason Booth, forcing the experienced former two-weight British champion to retire at the end of the seventh round.

Whereas Frampton made three routine defences of his Commonwealth title, Quigg made just one of his British title before moving on to becoming a world champion, albeit through a mix of interim belts and upgrades to make him the full champion, which is a fault of modern boxing as opposed to being any fault of Quigg's, who has just taken the chances that were provided for him.

Quigg claimed the interim WBA title at the back end of 2012, halting an out-gunned and out of sorts Rendall Munroe in the sixth round. A routine defence against William Prado was followed by a struggle to tame the slick Yoandris Salinas, with Quigg finishing strongly down the stretch to retain his title via a majority draw decision. A further four defences of an upgraded version of the title came against what can only be described as B level fighters, which covered the next eighteen months as Quigg continued to improve without ever taking a significantly risky fight.

In the same eighteen month period Frampton was also busy fighting and improving, claiming the European title along the way when stopping the world class and always exciting Kiko Martinez in nine entertaining rounds. Martinez then went on to win the IBF title and a rematch was hastily arranged, with the Champion determined to settle the score with Frampton. That wasn't to be the case though, as Frampton overcame a strong start by Martinez to dominate the fight from the fifth round onwards and become world champion via a wide points decision.

With both boxers holding versions of the world title, the stage looked set for a unification bout but promotional issues continued to hold up proceedings. That all changed after, and partly due to, their last fights. Beforehand Frampton's team were claiming Quigg was undeserving of a 50-50 purse share due to him not fighting any world class operators and one sensed Eddie Hearn was reluctant to put Quigg in with a seemingly ever improving Frampton.

Frampton was then dropped twice in the opening round of what should have been a simple task against Alejandro Gonzalez, a sign of vulnerability not seen before that surely must have excited Hearn. On the same night, Quigg brutally dispatched former Frampton victim Martinez in sensational style, clubbing the usually durable Spaniard to the floor twice in the second round, forcing the referee to stop the bout. After such a dominant display against such a well regarded and world class fighter, there was now no room for argument about Quigg's credentials as a world level operator, thus giving Barry McGuigan less manoeuvrability around the negotiating table.

Finally the fight was announced late last year and it's arguably been the most eagerly anticipated domestic clash for a long time. Both boxers have outlined their own strengths whilst claiming to know the others weaknesses and both have had slight snipes at each other during the build up, which is essentially all the usual fun of the fair during a big fight build up.

From a neutrals point of view, the fight is incredibly hard to predict, there can be a case made for either boxer. It could well just come down to who performs the better on fight night. Frampton looks the slightly more rounded boxer, he's as comfortable boxing off the back foot as he is controlling the fight coming forward. Quigg much prefers to come forward and force the pace, and he looks better when doing so even if he can box off the back foot when needed to, albeit less impressively than Frampton does.

Both carry knockout power but Quigg is certainly the heavier handed, every punch he lands is hurtful and you can hear the weight of them at ringside when they thud home The way he clobbered Martinez was astounding, Martinez stood up to a lot of what Frampton threw at him but was in trouble from the first moment Quigg landed cleanly. It's also worth noting Quigg's bodywork - the way he dips down and rips in a vicious left hook downstairs is textbook stuff and a clear product of his early training with the legendary Brian Hughes.

Another advantage for Quigg is his physical strength and stamina, he's a monster at the weight and can fight at a high pace for twelve rounds, as he showed against Hidenori Otake in his defence prior to the Martinez fight. Frampton has looked strong and fit for the majority of his career but just recently he's looked very tight at the weight and has been slow to get out of first gear, which could be a huge problem if repeated against Quigg.

Frampton has the better footwork of the two and judges distance well, whereas Quigg is quick to close the distance but occasionally smothers his work by getting too close. He also has the habit of bringing his right foot around and squaring himself up at times, although it hasn't been noticeable in recent bouts, suggesting he may have ironed that problem out.

Adaptability and ring IQ have been mentioned numerous times as major advantages for Frampton in the build up to the fight, it's not something I subscribe to though. If Frampton and the McGuigan's genuinely believe Quigg can only come forward and club away then they're in for a serious shock. Quigg has shown his adaptability before, most noticeably when getting off the canvas against Jamie Arthur, he showed a lot of patience and made clever adjustments in that fight. He's also a lot more guileful than he's been made out to be, he sets his attacks up well and works head and body fluidly.

Both fighters seem to have decent chins, even if both have been dropped and hurt in the past. The area that could be fruitful for Quigg is Frampton's body. As previously mentioned, Quigg is a fantastic body puncher and I believe Frampton is susceptible to those punches. Frampton has a reaction to body shots that's a give away sign that he's hurt - he'll back off and widen his stance whilst lowering his hands and cocking his right hand as if he's naturally loosening his style. He's basically feigning that he's trying to draw his opponent onto a counter punch when the truth is that it's a clever and effective way of discouraging an opponent from following up a good shot with a barrage of punches whilst also getting his breath back.

The fight really is a toss of the coin, the bookies have Frampton as the favourite but the odds are tight. The weigh-in could be revealing, it was evident during Wednesdays public workout that Frampton looks tight at the weight again and looked very dry. If he looks very gaunt or even fails to make weight on Friday then the bout must swing heavily in Quigg's favour.

One sense Frampton would prefer the bout to be a tactical affair, whereas Quigg will be looking to force Frampton into fighting at a pace he's not comfortable with. It could be a case of who can impose their preferred style on the other. Quigg will have to be careful when coming in as Frampton is a sharp counter-puncher, likewise, Frampton will have to be careful if he allows Quigg to get on the inside.

Anything could happen in this fight, an early knockout can't be ruled out due to both having knockout power. It wouldn't be a surprise if the fight went long either, whether it be a late stoppage or it going to the cards, all the fans can hope for is a great spectacle, which is almost guaranteed.