News April 2014

Hearn outlines options for WBA champ Quigg


By @nate_williams23

There is one word that keeps echoing throughout the super-bantamweight division in world boxing and that word is unification.

At the moment, the super-bantamweight tree is separated into three tiers and on the top branch, is already unified pound for pound world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. The 33 year-old Cuban superstar is the WBA’s “super” champion as he holds a version of their belt and added the WBO crown to his cabinet with victory over Nonito Donaire last year.

The next level belongs to the WBC’s champion Leo Santa Cruz (27-0-1) and the IBF’s current titleholder Kiko Martinez. And at the very base of this largely growing structure is bullish Brit Scott Quigg and Northern Ireland’s “Jackal” Carl Frampton, who are battling each other to reach new heights.

Quigg (28-0-2) was promoted to the WBA’s “regular” world champion last year after earning a majority draw against Yoandris Salinas in an impressive boxing display, and dispatching Diego Silva comfortably in the second round.

Belfast’s Frampton is earning more respect out of the two after receiving praise from fight fans for his fairly easy win over Hugo Cazarez in a WBC world title eliminator to face Santa Cruz.

However, after his recent demolishing of Tshifiwa Munyai in Manchester on April 19, the undefeated Bury star and his team believes he should be next in line for a chance to unify the division.

Munyai (24-3-1), who stepped in as a late replacement for Nehomar Cermeno due to visa issues, was predicted to be a tough test for Quigg, but the “Atomic Spider” was washed out by the 25 year-old’s knockout power.

Quigg produced a perfectly-timed and brutal one-two punch to send his South African opponent to the canvas in the second round. The right hand bomb Quigg detonated was so devastating in effect that medical staff rushed to Munyai’s aid.

“No one’s ever done that to Munyai,” said Quigg.

“He’s durable, tough and people were expecting him to cause me a lot of problems. I said before the fight you were going to see the best of Scott Quigg because I know I’m at my best from what I’ve been practicing and training. Nothing less than what I did in that ring would have been good enough.

“I want them big fights and I want to unify the division. I can fight Leo Santa Cruz, Kiko Martinez but a lot of people are asking me about Carl Frampton. They are the fights I want.”

The question is who will get there first? WBA champion Quigg or his adversary Frampton?

Frampton also produced a cracker jack punch to see off Cazarez in similar fashion and earn the official right to face Mexico’s Santa Cruz. Quigg’s trainer Joe Gallagher argues that the praise and the finger of blame for poor opponents are being pointed in the wrong direction.

“Scott beat Salinas who will prove that he can come again and become a champion. Carl turned that fight down and we beat him but no one’s giving Carl stick for beating blown-up bums,” he said.

“Carl Frampton beat a super-flyweight that only moved up to super-bantamweight two years ago. For that, some press are hailing Frampton as the next big thing. We’re beating solid fighters and it was a solid performance again from Scott Quigg.”

Of course, the man behind Quigg’s next move will be his promoter Eddie Hearn. He thinks that they can realistically get to Santa Cruz before Frampton because of the financial and material rewards of two belts on the line.

Hearn also argues that it would be a struggle to entice Santa Cruz over to British shores but believes they would have a better chance of doing so than Frampton and his promoter Barry McGuigan.

“You’re talking about a guy who boxes on ShowTime for huge purses,” said Hearn.

“The idea of half-a-million to come to Belfast is probably the most unattractive offer he has heard in his life. Frampton is a top quality fighter but if you’re Leo Santa Cruz and you’re not due a mandatory, would you want to fight Carl Frampton? Especially, in Belfast. If you’re Carl Frampton, why on Earth would you want to go to Mexico or some region of America and fight Leo Santa Cruz for 100 or 200 thousand dollars? You can challenge for a world title here in Britain for treble that much.

“Santa Cruz is difficult for both Scott and Carl but I believe we’ve got more chance because we have a belt,” he added.

“Scott’s got no problem boxing in America either if there’s a big fight with Santa Cruz to unify the division at stake. But you can’t just bring fighters over for a couple of hundred grand. The answer is you have to find a huge pot of money and have something that attracts them to the fight. Another world title belt might just do that.

“We’re the champion so we’ll chase Leo Santa Cruz. I spoke to GoldenBoy and we’ll have conversations again and again. Why would either of these men fight each other? The answer is we need to unify the division.”

There is a solution to this problem where Quigg could defend his belt against Frampton and the winner steps up to face Santa Cruz in another big British clash that UK fight fans have craved this year.

However, Hearn said it’s not that simple because he has made and increased an offer to the Frampton camp but has heard nothing positive back.

“I spoke to the McGuigans on Wednesday (April 16). They said I haven’t tried to make the fight but that’s not true. I made them an offer and I’ve increased my offer for Scott to fight Carl Frampton. We were supposed to meet but we didn’t for some reason.

“They expect me to chase them like Carl’s the world champion. Scott’s the world champion and he has the belt. Carl Frampton said we want other options but we don’t. We can take three or five options ahead of him but I won’t because I believe we will win the fight anyway. It’s not rocket science. These guys are in the sport for a short period of time. It’s my job to deliver the biggest fights with the biggest money possible. The answer to that is Carl Frampton because it’s the best option for both men.”

Or another option is for Quigg to jump over the other champions and go to the top of the tree and fight the undefeated king Rigondeaux. Rigondeaux (13-0) is awesome to watch for the boxing purists who see the sport as an art form of hitting and not getting hit.

Nonetheless, the two-time Olympic gold medallist is hard to sell as his promoters are becoming increasingly frustrated by his lack of willingness to get drawn into a brawl.

It is for this reason alone that Hearn thinks that such a clash between Rigondeaux and his charge is not likely to happen.

“Rigondeaux is great but I don’t think there is any money in a Rigondeaux fight,” he said.

“No one’s interested in him in America, no one outside of the hardcore boxing fans have heard of him over here so what would be the point? I don’t think Scott would be afraid of fighting Rigondeaux or anyone for that matter but you’ve got to be clever at the same time.”

The most likely option of a unification fight for Quigg is to face the IBF’s Kiko Martinez (30-4-0), who has previously fought Carl Frampton and lost. It would be the easiest option for Quigg because the 28 year-old Spaniard has fought in similar circumstances before with the added bargaining chip of a chance to become a unified champion.

Hearn said: “Martinez is perfect because it makes sense commercially, financially, we’re able to bring him over, both IBF and WBA titles on the line and it’s Frampton-free because they won’t chase him. It’s a chance for Martinez to unify the division and where else is he going to get it? It’s a realistic fight.”

In the meantime, Quigg is set to finish the summer by headlining his own show in Bury’s JD Stadium on Gigg Lane against a credible world ranked opponent.
“I know it’s called the JD Stadium but it would be nice if I was fighting on Quigg Lane for the day,” said Quigg.

“It would be great to box in the stadium of my hometown in Bury and I’m sure it would be a sellout.”

Hearn said plans are in place for Quigg’s dream day at Bury but it will be another hard search for an opponent capable of standing up to his power for a good 12-round fight to give him a platform onto the world stage.

“I need something that’s going to get Scott Quigg credit because he’s beaten all these guys and now needs something that’s going to get people excited,” Hearn said.

“In the division there isn’t many. There might be one or two outside of the world champions that will do that. He destroyed Munyai and now he’s ready. There’s no one else in the world divisions that are ranked 2, 3, 4 and 5 that would not have been credible enough for Scott to fight. We need Martinez, we need Santa Cruz and of course, Frampton is the fight everyone wants. “

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