While the match is not nearly as momentous on this side of the Atlantic, the fact remains that for serious boxing fans, Carl Frampton vs Scott Quigg is truly one of the best fights the sport can offer. When one considers it’s a title unification battle between two undefeated champions, as well as a clash between an Englishman and an Irishman and two of the very best super-bantamweights in the world (only Guillermo Rigondeaux is ranked higher), plus the fact U.K. boxing fans have been clamouring for this match-up for many months, and you have a recipe for one of the most exciting fights of the year. Exclusive to The Fight City, our very own Lee Wylie brings his ring acumen to this match-up and previews what has to be regarded as the biggest fight on British soil since Froch vs Groves II. Check it out:
Scott Quigg is taller, longer, stronger, stylistically a bit more aggressive, and a bigger puncher. Also, he certainly isn’t as crude as what Frampton and his camp have made him out to be. Granted, Scott allowed himself to get a little wild putting Kiko Martinez away, but he does a lot of clever stuff in there that often goes unnoticed, such as Mayweather style “framing” with his forearms immediately after connecting to maintain contact, control, and set up more punches.
Whether he is throwing single shots or stringing them together in combination, Quigg is very good when going to the body. If Frampton chooses to box off his back foot, a sustained body attack could certainly pay dividends for Quigg later on. Of course, he must first funnel Frampton’s movement, which may prove an arduous task in and of itself.
That being said, Frampton isn’t as comfortable leading the dance on his front foot, so Quigg may adopt a back foot strategy in order to bring this to light. Strategically, boxers can either do what they do best, or employ tactics which, while not necessarily their first choice, prevent an opponent from doing what he does best. Therefore, rather than look to get inside, Quigg may elect to box behind his jab before using subtle half-steps back to force his opponent to reach or lunge with his punches. If the smaller man then overcommits and falls short, he is at the mercy of well-timed counter shots. For a recent example of a taller boxer masterfully exploiting an overextended, off-balance, shorter opponent, check out Terence Crawford vs Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Carl Frampton appears to be the more layered fighter, and he may (although I’m not entirely convinced) hold the advantage in ring IQ. Like Quigg, Frampton is also a good combination puncher, and is perhaps a little more creative intertwining hooks and straights, but I don’t think he’s as effective a body-puncher as Quigg. Frampton definitely possesses the more educated lead hand, however, which he employs in various ways.
For instance, along with a more conventional jab that he uses merely to rack up points or keep his opponent from getting set, Carl will use a light, “pawing” jab to gauge distance and distract his opponent in order to pave the way for his more powerful right. He will also “post” with the jab to control his opponent’s head and thus keep him from countering while simultaneously looking to angle off or continue an attack. Frampton’s jab, perhaps thrown both to the body and head in order to manipulate Quigg’s relatively static high guard, could play a major role and, ultimately, secure victory for the Irishman.
The consensus is that Frampton has more ways of winning than Quigg, but regardless of his strategy, Frampton must combat the Britisher’s length advantage. Though it’s not immediately obvious, Frampton does have some technical issues in terms of closing the gap against taller opponents. He has a tendency to leave his back foot lagging behind when stepping in with his jab or straight right, which results in a loss of balance and an inability to throw subsequent punches. This must be corrected against Quigg, who, as I’ve mentioned, will likely be looking to fully exploit his advantages in height and reach.
One way Frampton can nullify that is by keeping his feet under him while getting low and jabbing up, thus forcing Quigg to jab down at him while his own jab follows a deceptive, upward path from underneath. Feints and upper-body movement might also work well for Frampton, with the feints serving to either freeze Quigg or throw off his timing, while the upper-body movement may tempt Quigg into throwing tentative, easily anticipated jabs which would make the job of slipping and countering an easier one for Frampton.
I view this as a genuine 50-50 match and I’m not confident picking either boxer. Make no mistake, any outcome is a possibility here. Although I tend to lean towards the superior technician in these type of fights, which is probably Frampton, I have a sneaky feeling the physically superior man with the better game plan, which I believe will be Quigg, is going to come out on top. Far from the popular pick, I know, but I believe Scott Quigg will seize the all-important initiative, control both the range and pace of the fight, and win by decision. — Lee Wylie