‘The Jackal’ takes on Filipino future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire on April 21st at the SSE Odyssey Arena in a bout which has been described by some as a World title fight in all but name. However, should results go their way tonight at the StubHub Centre in Carson, a vacant belt could be on the line next month in Belfast.
Former Frampton foe Scott Quigg had been due to challenge WBO champion Oscar Valdez tonight, but the bout was thrown into doubt at the weigh-in yesterday.
Englishman Quigg tipped the scales at a whopping 128.8lbs – almost a full three pounds overweight. Such was the degree to which he missed weight (by more than two pounds) Quigg was not allowed to attempt to shed the excess per California State Athletic Commission rules. The Bury boxer, defeated by Frampton in a major pay-per-view fight in 2016, was fined by the commission and also had to cede some of his purse to Valdez – however, the fight itself still hangs in the balance.
This morning, Quigg refused to weigh-in at a checkweight, much to the displeasure of Team Valdez. While the bout, at present, is still scheduled to go ahead, Valdez is reported to be considering his options. Should the fight go ahead, Quigg, of course, can not win the title. However, he could strike a big blow for Frampton. If Valdez is defeated tonight he will lose the belt which would become vacant.
The Mexican former gym mate of Mick Conlan has a rematch clause with 3/1 underdog Quigg and, should there be an upset, an immediate repeat would look likely. However, whether the vacant belt would be on the line remains an interesting hypothetical question.
This is due to the upcoming Frampton-Donaire bout. While the match-up is working as an effective eliminator for the winner of Lee Selby’s IBF title defence versus Josh Warrington in May. Additionally, though, Frampton’s promoter, Frank Warren, has set in motion moves to make the bout a WBO final eliminator.
This final eliminator status was first mentioned in January and, subsequently, the previously-unranked Donaire was inserted at #8 in the WBO 126lbs Top 15. Warren has an extremely strong relationship with the WBO, the youngest of the four established world governing bodies, and seems to exert an influence over the organisation – as does Top Rank boss and Valdez’s promoter Bob Arum.
From the outside, it certainly would not be beyond reason, should Quigg dethrone Valdez tonight, that a final eliminator between Frampton and Donaire – which is yet to be officially confirmed – is upgraded to a vacant title fight.
It is all unclear, unconfirmed, and admittedly unlikely, but the scenario perhaps adds an added point of interest for Irish fans watching the clash in California tonight.