Circumstance not finance is the reason the eagerly anticipated world title fight between Jermal Herring [21(10)-2(1)] and Carl Frampton [27(15)-2(0)] will most likely play out in New York rather than Belfast, declares a somewhat disgruntled ‘Jackal’.
The Belfast hero thought he had secured the chance to make history in his home town, as the WBO super featherweight world champion had agreed to come to Ireland and to put his title on the line.
By all accounts the fight was just I dotting and T crossing away from playing out in Windsor Park on June 13, meaning Frampton would have had the chance to become Ireland’s first three weight world champ on home soil.
However, the current pandemic means June 13 is a no go and despite suggestions Michael Conlan and Frampton could share a big August card, the former two weight world champ doesn’t see himself and Herring sharing a ring until September, making New York the new front runner.
Frampton admits Madison Square Garden is appealing and has no issue with traveling, but the ever fan conscious fighter has become hurt by suggestions, that he has agreed to, or even pushed, a change in venue to line his pocket.
Speaking in his popular Sunday Life column, the Top Rank fighter hit back at suggestions he has turned his back on his fans, revealing Windsor is an impossibity and Madison Square Garden appeals in terms of the history surrounding the fight.
“First of all, my number one priority was always to fight at Windsor Park and we were getting very close to sealing that deal for June, but then Covid-19 struck the world and the reality is that a stadium fight in Northern Ireland has a limited window of opportunity. I don’t see the fight happening before September, so Windsor would seem to be ruled out,” Frampton explains.
“Of course, there is the option of the SSE Arena, but if it is between fighting there and aiming to make history as the first Irish three-weight world champion in Madison Square Garden, then I would go for the Big Apple, simply because I have never headlined there before. To be able to say that I had boxed at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden, would be a real honour,” he adds before confirming the venue won’t effect his purse.
“Secondly, I have to make it crystal clear to those who are saying I want to go to the States because I’ll get a bigger pay-day that it doesn’t matter where I fight in relation to how much I get paid. I have a contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank company, which states what I will receive for such a fight and that doesn’t change. I could be fighting in my own back garden and I’d get paid the same if I was boxing Herring at Wembley or in a tent in Tigers Bay.
“So to say, as some have, that I’m putting two fingers up to the fans by opting to fight in New York is just rubbish. For goodness sake, it was because of my fans that I went through with my fight against Tyler McCreary in Las Vegas last November despite having a broken hand.
“I knew that many had come out to Vegas and I didn’t want to let them down because they had paid their hard-earned cash to be there. I could easily have withdrawn from the fight, but I went ahead and ended up needing surgery on both hands because of it.”
Frampton also points out his dance partner and holder of the titles only wanted to fight outside America to experience a stadium fight and now that is off the table his desire to travel has lessened.
“The other key factor regarding when and where my fight with Herring will happen is that Jamel is the champion and the only reason he wanted to defend in Belfast was because he wanted to be part of a stadium occasion in the UK. Like most American fighters, he knows that kind of experience is not going to happen in the States. Like all the American fighters, they are looking at the UK and envious of the shows being put on in front of thousands of fans.
“Herring was prepared to come into my back yard to defend his title at Windsor Park, but why would he come here, as the champion, and fight in another indoor arena. I can clearly see from his point of view, it wouldn’t make sense when he has the option of defending on home soil at Madison Square Garden.”