A packed crowd celebrated with deafening noise as Belfast-native Carl Frampton retained his IBF super bantamweight (122 pounds) title and captured the WBA version from Scott Quigg with a split-decision victory on Saturday in Manchester, England. One judge scored the fight 115-113 for Quigg while the other two scored it 116-112 for the Irishman.
The wild cheering of the crowd didn’t match the action in the ring as both fighters started extremely cautiously and left little for the judges to pick between them. Both fighters did more posing and staring than punching for the first three rounds.
Frampton (22-0, 14KO) began picking up the rounds largely by throwing the jab and backing up the bigger man. Quigg (31-1-2, 23KO) rarely threw punches and missed most of the ones he did throw.
Quigg finally woke up in the 7th round and began to throw more frequently. He applied far more pressure on his opponent and imposed his size to a certain degree by pushing Frampton to the ropes at times. This left Frampton confused and his movement slowed down enough for Quigg to decisively win rounds. A cluster of hooks in the 9th round showed off Quigg’s power.
The 10th round was exactly what the fans were looking for as both champions finally exchanged blows and landed combinations. Quigg, realizing he had given the first half of the fight away, fought his heart out and began imposing his skills and size on Frampton. His highlight moment came in the 11th round when a huge straight right hand momentarily buckled Frampton’s knees.
To his credit, Frampton showed his warrior spirit by coming out and winning the final round with movement and more precise punching than Quigg. Quigg landed some good shots early on in the round, but he ultimately spent too much time looking for a haymaker shot to win the round.
The fight itself was somewhat exciting, with the first six rounds stinking up the joint and the last half becoming more of the fight everyone anticipated leading up to the event. Comparisons to the Barrera-Morales trilogy ended up being far too exaggerated.
Quigg expressed disappointment in his loss and I can imagine why. He looked like a fighter who still had something left in the tank, but he didn’t begin truly fighting until the 6th round and it cost him greatly. Frampton could have arguably gone harder as well, as he withstood a late surge from Quigg to win the final round. So again, this fight turned out to be a tad disappointing in terms of action.
However, congratulations must be handed to Frampton for unifying the titles and proving to the world he’s the best super bantamweight in the world not named Rigondeaux. He should have a bright future ahead of him, regardless which direction he takes.
Quigg can definitely bounce back from this set-back. It seemed his biggest mistake was showing his opponent too much respect and not imposing his superior size. If he can overcome this over-thinking nature he seems to have, he can still become an excellent fighter.