When a fighter just knows..
On Saturday night in Manchester, England former WBA world super-bantamweight champion Scott Quigg just knew.
He knew from the fourth round onwards, like Barry McGuigan knew against Jim McDonnell, like Lloyd Honeyghan knew when being pushed around the ring by a young brash Adrian Dodson and like Ricky Hatton knew against Vyacheslav Senchenko in 2012. Quigg knew that the zip, the timing, the strength and inevitably the desire were no longer there.
That Quigg (35-3-2, 26 KO’s) went through ten completed rounds with this seemingly in his mind for most of the fight, before being rescued by the compassion of long term trainer Joe Gallagher after 2:14 of the eleventh round was testament to his pride, professionalism and bravery.
The 31 year old Quigg from Bury, north west England who had previously made five defences of his world super-bantamweight (8st 10lb) title before losing on a split decision to Carl Frampton in February 2016 was always a fighter who was willing to come forward, engage and, also when required, use his array of skills to box his way to victory.
No more was his bravery in evidence than in losing a brutal fight to Mexican-American star Oscar Valdez in March 2018 in an aborted WBO world featherweight challenge. After failing to make the weight, with the title not on the line, he opted to go through with the fight and endured a bloody beating in a gallant ‘toe to toe’ losing effort, testing Valdez bravery and ‘cojones’ throughout.
Going into the Carroll fight the word on Quigg was the gym wars when relocating to the famous Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles after the Frampton loss had taken their toll, that his history of breaking his jaw and repeatedly his nose was becoming a problem and his conditioning was not what it was. All of these things may have been true on reflection, but most importantly for a fighter in the latter part of his career, his heart was still there to see it out on the highest stage, a big televised show at the Manchester Arena against a seasoned but still young and hungry fighter.
The victor, Jono Carroll (18-1-1, 4 KO’s)was simply outstanding. From the opening bell he dominated the fight with supreme strength and technique, showing an array of boxing skills to befuddle the ex-champ at times. He boxed on the front foot, on the back foot, darted in and out and used power shots to emphasise his point. Quigg try as he may was simply not in the fight and arguably lost every completed round.
Carroll, despite not carrying a high knockout record and only four years younger than his opponent looked fresh as a daisy. This was by far his most impressive performance to date and bodes well for future championship fights.
Scott Quigg meanwhile was reluctant to officially announce his retirement immediately after the heat of battle on Saturday, despite being repeatedly given the opportunity by the Sky Sports interviewer. He showed the correct respect and credit to the excellence of his opponent and explained if this was to be the end then he’s achieved all he wanted. Rightly so; the man from Bury scaled the heights, won a version of the world title, successfully defended it and went onto compete at championship level in a higher weight class. He can be proud of this.
In the chief support on the Matchroom Boxing card Manchester’s young heavyweight contender Hughie Fury (24-3, 14 KO’s) stopped an outclassed Pavel Sour (11-3, 6 KO’s) after 24 seconds of round three. The cousin of current WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury puts himself in position for further tilts at the elite level after respectable defeats against Kubrat Pulev and Alexander Povetkin.