Saturday night at Manchester Arena in Manchester, Lancashire, England, IBF champion Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs), from Belfast, Northern, Ireland, won a split decision over WBA champion Scott Quigg (31-1-2, 23 KOs), from Bury, Lancashire, England, to unify the super bantamweight titles.
Judge Levi Martinez scored the fight 115-113 for Quigg, while judges Carlos Sucre and Dave Parris both saw it 116-112 for Frampton.
For a fight that was much anticipated and lauded in advance, it was a curious, meandering affair that only seemed to come alive in the last five rounds.
Frampton, fighting out of the red corner in white trunks trimmed in gold, controlled the action, such as it was, in the first five rounds with his stabbing jab and some fancy footwork. Many of those rounds were close. Some of the rounds might have been even. There was much uncertainty, too little action from either fighter to be sure of anything.
Quigg, fighting out of the blue corner in black trunks with red and white trim, was tentative to a fault, at least initially. He appeared to do next to nothing for the first half of the fight. Defensive-minded, he seemed unwilling to engage. He had his moments, but his reluctance to commit landed him in a bg hole he had to dig himself out of.
When his trainer Joe Gallagher told Quigg after the seventh that he was way behind on the scorecards, the Englishman concluded it was time to fight—and fight he did. The somewhat boring rounds that preceded round seven were soon forgotten as the formerly somnambulant fighter finally woke up and let his hands go.
Quigg began landing his jab. He began landing his right hand. He was digging shots to the body. Quigg brought the fight to Frampton. The Belfast native responded in kind, but Quigg was a different fighter than he had been and won rounds eight through 11.
What has been a disappointing, forgettable fight had suddenly turned into something memorable. Quigg had given away a lot of rounds in the early going, but going into the 12th it looked like the fight might be up for grabs.
Frampton had boxed smart for several rounds. And then Quigg forced him into a dogfight. The tough kid from Northern Ireland had no choice but to dig deep and in so doing revealed the heart of a lion, the heart of a world champion, as he somehow managed to win the final round and the fight.
“I did what I had to do to make it easy for myself,” said Frampton after the bout. “I knew it was going to be a tactical fight all along and a bit timid but you have to do what it takes to win. I’m not going to rush into silly punches. You have to be smart. I was and I got the win.
“He’s a solid puncher, I think both of us are, and that is why it was so cautious early on. But he never really rocked me.
“I’m proud to have beaten a very good fighter tonight. There’s a lot of history between our teams but he was a worthy champion.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.