Legal representation for both parties appeared in the Belfast High Court today where it was revealed the legal battle centers on alleged earnings in excess of £4million – with McGuigan having a counter-suit for alleged breach of contract.
However, in terms of the former two-weight world champion’s return to the ring, an adjournment was the most significant aspect of today’s proceedings.
Mr Justice Colton adjourned the two week hearing – which was initially scheduled for next month – and the case will be heard in September 2019 at the earliest.
It’s a blow for the Belfast featherweight as it could delay his ring return. Frampton has been open about wanting to get the legal ordeal out of the way before he focuses on any potential fight.
If that remains the case, it may be September before the popular 32-year-old can even think about fighting again. The Top Rank and ESPN star may be able to fight before the year is out, but with September being scheduled as an ‘earliest’ date the hearing may be pushed back further and negotiating a fight for 2019 may prove troublesome.
32-year-old Frampton reiterated his desire to ‘fight in late July or early August’ as recently as yesterday afternoon and, to do this, may have to choose to enter camp with the case still pending.
Mr Justice Colton admitted the delay represents a blow to the fighter’s attempts to move on with his career, and stressed “I’m anxious to ensure when this trial does come to fruition there is a fair trial.”
The news may prompt one of Ireland’s greatest ever operators to rethink his approach.
At present a world title fight with WBO champ and new stablemate Oscar Valdez looks very makeable and was mooted for later this year. Win that fight and a unification rematch with Josh Warrington should he come through his clash with Kid Galahad was next in line.
However, if ‘The Jackal’ was to sit back and wait the featherweight landscape may change and securing a tilt may prove more difficult.
Also, a year out of the ring would possibly lead to Frampton needing a ring rust freeing exercise or two, which is something that doesn’t appeal.
So in that regard he may elect to fight before September and talks with regard to a Valdez meeting may pick up pace – although, still, Frampton may want a warm-up ahead of such a clash regardless.
The Tiger’s Bay fan favourite is currently at home ticking over and his response to today’s schedule change is awaited with interest.