Frampton v Martinez II next for “The Jackal”?
By Jeremy O’Connell
Carl Frampton made his long-awaited Boxnation debut this past weekend, with a dominant 6th round knockout of the fairly mediocre Jeremy Parodi. The fight doubled as an IBF world title eliminator and European title defence for Frampton.
Frampton now looks toward a world title shot, but who will he end up facing?
Current lineal champion, and pound for pound rated Guillermo Rigondeaux holds both the WBO and WBA “Super” (i.e. real) belts, and, despite his post-fight claims of being willing to challenge anyone, in my view, there is no way Frampton’s team will ever be going near Rigondeaux.
The WBC belt is held by rising Golden Boy star Leo Santa Cruz, and that matchup also seems unlikely.
The two more realistic options are WBA “regular” beltholder Scott Quigg, and IBF titlist (and ex-Frampton victim) Kiko Martinez.
Frampton made the shock decision a few months back to leave Eddie Hearn and Sky, to make his bed with Frank Warren and Boxnation. Supposedly this was over a disagreement between Hearn and Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan, as McGuigan, bizarrely and arguably egotistically, wanted co-promotional rights to his contests, something Hearn was never going to agree to. The Frampton camp claimed bias from Sky towards British fighters and felt they weren’t getting the promotion that they deserved from the network. Sky were also reportedly reluctant to return to Belfast to put on a Frampton card, as the costs are much higher than doing shows on the mainland UK, as well as the viewing figures being allegedly below par for Frampton’s fights.
Frampton’s first fight with Boxnation was then cancelled due to an ear injury. And, as if that wasn’t enough bad news, the man Frampton knocked out in his last fight, Kiko Martinez won the IBF title in a surprise shot at Johnathon Romero, despite being shamed recently by the exposure of his links to PED kingpin Eufemiano Fuentes.
In the continuing game of promotional musical chairs, domestic rival Scott Quigg moved in the opposite direction, from obscurity with Hatton promotions to a strong platform on Sky with Matchroom. He was then upgraded from WBA “interim” to “regular” titlist, and made his first defence in an underwhelming draw with Yoandris Salinas.
Quigg-Frampton has been a dream domestic matchup for at least the past 3 years, but, despite talk of offers for a 2014 fight from each camp, the chances of that fight taking place in the near future still seem remote.
If a world title fight can’t be made right away for Frampton, British champion Kid Galahad is reportedly the new European mandatory challenger, and capable ex-world title challenger Zsolt Bedak is also high in the EBU ratings.
Frampton’s team have stated that their primary aim is to entice Martinez back to Belfast for a rematch, and claim to have significant backers willing to bankroll such a lucrative event. I wonder if a bidding war will erupt behind the scenes between McGuigan and Hearn to get the Spaniard’s services, as a Martinez-Quigg fight will surely also interest the WBA “regular” beltholder’s team.
This is all dependent, however, on Martinez first negotiating a tough mandatory defence against former titlist Jeffrey Mathebula next month.
All that is certain is that Frampton’s title shot will come eventually; he may just have to wait a while yet for it.
For more of Jeremy’s views check out his blog and catch him on Twitter
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