A long awaited fight takes centre stage but the less long awaited fights are also good
It’s been a few weeks since the last big fight but this weekend two little men put a lot on the line when Carl Frampton meets Scott Quigg in what will probably be the biggest all-British fight of the year. Potential and previous opponents also fight this Saturday, with featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz facing the tough Kiko Martinez and Gavin McDonnell looks to win his first title eliminator against Jorge Sanchez. And there’s a cruiserweight slugfest on the cards in Germany when British world champion Ola Afolabi takes on home-favourite Marco Huck.
Quigg v Frampton – Bet Now
Since 2011, when Quigg was British super bantamweight champion and Frampton held the Commonwealth title, boxing fans have been clamouring for the two Brits to get it on. But now both fighters are bringing world titles as well as unbeaten records to the ring for this Sky box office grudge match.
Frampton is travelling to the Manchester Arena for the bout but Quigg’s home venue advantage will be wiped out on the night when half of Belfast turn up to support their man. The popular fighter usually travels well but in the excitement of his American debut last July Frampton forgot to pack his defence and got dropped twice for the first time in his career in the opening three minutes.
The Northern Irishman was never really hurt and won comfortably on points in the end but the performance tarnished Frampton’s reputation. While on the same night last year Quigg destroyed former world champion Kiko Martinez in two rounds, the man who Frampton beat twice but much less impressively in nine rounds and then on points only a couple of years ago.
Quigg is assumed to have the power edge but both men have around 75% KO ratios in their last 10 contests. If the KO is going to come it will probably be early: Quigg’s last five KOs have come before end of round three but he has also been down twice in his career before round six. Quigg is to win in rounds 1-6, while ‘The Jackal’ is to in the same rounds.
Living like a monk hasn’t won Quigg many fans or got him a cool nickname, but his stamina is unbelievable. Frampton on points is a solid bet at and Quigg by decision is very good value at . I can’t choose between those two bets so I’m just backing the fight to be decided by decision at .
Gavin McDonnell v Jorge Sanchez – Bet Now
The main support act on the box office undercard is fellow unbeaten British super bantamweight McDonnell against Panama’s Jorge Sanchez. The former British and European champion is a genuine contender and will be pushing for a world title or a bout with either the winner or the loser from the main event.
Prospect might be a bit of a strong endorsement for Sanchez, who, although unbeaten, has only ever fought eight rounders in Panama against unnoteworthy opponents. All Latino-Americans seem to be hard as nails but Sanchez’s record reveals he has lost several rounds and been knocked down.
Paddy Power think McDonnell will win on points because the Yorkshireman only has a KO ratio of 25% but his size, work rate and quality could easily force the referee to stop the contest before the end of 12 long rounds. Take the generous on McDonnell winning by KO.
Leo Santa Cruz v Kiko Martinez – Bet Now
In California another potential opponent for the winner of Frampton-Quigg is defending his title. Santa Cruz is a huge 1/12 favourite to beat Martinez, who has rebuilt his career from the canvas up with three back-to-back wins after Frampton and Quigg almost finished the Spaniard off for good.
Santa Cruz was regarded as the best super bantamweight in the world after winning nine title fights but the Mexican is now campaigning as a featherweight. Both Frampton and Quigg have the physique and the desire to move up four pounds to take on ‘El Terremoto’.
The Brits both stopped Martinez and the signs aren’t great for him in this fight: ‘La Sensación’ has aged, is more battered and moving up to face a heavier man. Neither Martinez or Santa Cruz will take a backward step and I expect the champ to get the win in rounds 7-12, which can be backed at .
Marco Huck v Ola Afolabi – Bet Now
The other big fight of the weekend is the cruiserweight contest between current champ Afolabi and former champ Huck. Huck initially picked up his world title in 2009 and after 13 defences, including three against Afolabi, he was finally beaten last August by Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki in one of the fights of the year.
Afolabi managed to win his version of the title by a dramatic KO in his most recent bout after losing the first four rounds to Russian champion Rakhim Chakhkiev. Huck split with his coach only last week but he has the skill, relative youth and, in Germany, the all important home advantage to win another barnstormer against Afolabi via decision victory at .