Saturday’s super-bantamweight world-title unification fight in Manchester between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg took on the flavour of a Hollywood A-list spat at Thursday’s final news conference.
Tensions between the respective camps of IBF champion Frampton and WBA king Quigg have simmered throughout the build-up to a long-anticipated British superfight and they threatened to boil over surrounding the seemingly trivial issue of which man gets the bigger dressing room at a sold-out Manchester Arena.
Quigg, as a native of Bury, Greater Manchester, contends he is entitled to a home changing room he enjoyed on five previous victories at the venue.
The 29-year-old Frampton feels he is the main commercial attraction and biggest ticket-seller – a claim inevitably challenged by Quigg – so should have the “star” dressing room as the “a-side” fighter.
The dispute was labelled as “embarrassing” by both men, only to rumble on throughout a media briefing that ended with Quigg, 27, and his similarly undefeated rival being pulled apart following a heated stare-down.
“You can see how much it means to him and he’s losing his rag,” said Frampton, who briefly soundtracked proceedings with Stevie Wonder hit “Superstition” on his phone to belittle Quigg’s claim to his favoured hooks, benches and shower.
“It’s a massive weakness, though, that he’s so superstitious he needs to be in that changing room. It’s hilarious.”
The reality is that if Frampton or Quigg have their hand raised victoriously – do not rule out a draw between two wonderfully matched operators – few will care where it was wrapped and gloved beforehand.
Northern Ireland’s Frampton is the protege of ring icon Barry McGuigan, chasing comparable superstardom under the watchful eye of his mentor’s son – trainer Shane McGuigan.
Quigg’s progress towards boxing’s upper echelons has come away from such fanfare, having left school with his parents’ blessing at the age of 15 to diligently pursue his ring dream.
A contest in the works for around four years became a reality after contrasting bouts last July.
Frampton battled to a win on his US debut, having been floored twice during the opening round by unheralded Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, while Quigg demolished ex-world champion and former Frampton foe Kiko Martinez inside six minutes.
“His biggest downfall will be that he doesn’t think I have a boxing brain,” said Quigg, before claiming a mental edge on Frampton that will result in a knockout triumph.
“He’ll bite. He tries to keep his composure but after so long he bites. And when he bites, I’ll take him out.
“I expect him to come out all guns blazing and, if he does, all good for me because he’ll walk straight on to one.”
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