It was hardly anything other than a disappointment that having failed in the simple matter of making terms for the most natural fight in British boxing, Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton rubbed salt in the wound by boxing at almost exactly the same time 5,000 miles apart tonight; Frampton with the unranked Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. in El Paso, Texas, and Quigg with two-time Frampton victim Kiko Martinez. The bell for their respective opening rounds were literally minutes apart.
For all that I believed Frampton to be the better of the two, I was never going to watch him box the sacrificial lamb that is Gonzalez – more than that, Quigg matched tonight a legitimate contender for all that he has been bested twice by Frampton. Martinez, the #4 Junior Featherweight in the world, was a man talking a really good fight in the run up to his meeting with Quigg (#3). He was talking like a man who knew himself. A man who knew he would be unable to win by boxing and so had made his peace with the necessity of winning by force. Tough, determined, with a good punch the Spaniard was to be Quigg’s hardest test as he had once been Frampton’s.
Shaved of skull and heavily tattooed, Martinez looked every inch the hard-man he has always seemed, aside from where it mattered, in the eyes. Before and at the bell he looked pensive. Quigg looked steel.
It was Martinez who won the first however, in doing what he always does, ignoring the rest of the world and steaming forwards. Quigg co-operated altruistically, allowing the Spaniard to build a head of steam while giving ground. A single counter-right hinted at where Quigg intended to lead him.
In the second, Martinez again swarmed in. Again Quigg gave ground. Again Martinez drove in with apparent relish – the elegant uppercut Quigg suddenly landed from all the way outside was a beautiful punch and it buckled Martinez at the knees. The follow up left him entangled with himself upon the canvas.
Martinez struggled back to his feet but the venom with which Quigg assaulted him meant only one outcome was possible and it came just seconds later via a winging right that would have felled a draught horse. Martinez, who has never been brutalised in anything even approaching this manner, was finished in mere minutes by the most devastating attack currently in the division. Divisional champion Guillermo Rigondeaux will hardly be intimidated, but he will be aware of a new shadow cast upon his door.
As I write, Frampton is labouring badly against a fighter that was meant only to confirm him on American soil for around half the remuneration he would have made for a fight with his British rival.
At this framed moment in time, it is very much advantage Quigg.