Negotiating the big fights in this sport can often be a fraught process. Whenever IBF super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez announced on his Facebook and Twitter profiles a few weeks ago that a rematch with Carl Frampton had been signed, the ears of local fight fans quickly pricked up.
On Wednesday of last week in the Europa Hotel, Cyclone CEO Barry McGuigan confirmed the rumours were true. Now Cyclone Promotions team member Jake McGuigan has lifted the lid on the process of negotiation that he had to engage in with Martinez’s team to make the big world title fight a reality.
“The reason why we had to delay (the announcement) after Kiko’s little announcement on Twitter, was that the fight had to be confirmed by the IBF, which it is now,” explained Jake.
“Expect an announcement in the next couple of weeks [regarding the venue] when Martinez will be there himself, possibly the other Martinez (Sergio, no relation) who wants to be here after his fight with Miguel Cotto. Hopefully he will be in Belfast for that huge announcement, but we need that couple of weeks to finalise.”
It seemed for all intents and purposes that Leo Santa Cruz would be the world title holder of choice for Frampton. Indeed, Leo revealed exclusively to the Irish Boxing Review that he would happily fight Carl and travel across the water if necessary. It seems that his team at Golden Boy were pre-occupied with other matters and prefer to take their man a different route.
“As you have heard in the last few days, there has been a lot going on at Golden Boy between (Richard) Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya,” agreed McGuigan.
“We tried to approach Golden Boy after the Cazares fight as there had been a lot of interest beforehand. We hadn’t got the response we wanted off Santa Cruz himself, saying it wasn’t something they wanted in the near future from Richard Schaefer publically and privately, and also from Al Haymon. That was going to get put until the end of the mandatory period, around the end of April.
“We knew we had to act quickly because they (the IBF) have just had the mandatory won by Chris Avalos at the weekend [against Yasutaka Ishimoto] so we needed it made before and then get an exemption because it will fall within the time where Kiko would have to fight his mandatory. Carl will try to fight Santa Cruz after this, or Quigg, but he is going to be in massive fights.”
So even though the Santa Cruz fight is off the agenda for the time being it is still a possibility down the line. For now it’s the threat of Kiko Martinez that occupies the attention of Team Cyclone. Barry McGuigan agrees that their relationship with Kiko’s team was the secret ingredient behind the successful negotiations.
“Because of our contacts with Samson, Maravilla and Gary Shaw, we have got HBO on board and they will either show delayed coverage or even go live early in the afternoon over there,” added Barry.
“We are looking to put South American boxers in against Irish and we will bring South American TV over as well. That means Marc McCullough and Jamie Conlan could be in big fights as long as they come through on June 20 (at the Waterfront Hall).”
Carl, naturally, is delighted that he can box for a world title in his home city against an opponent he has already been able to defeat.
“I just want to thank everyone involved for getting this, especially Jake who worked tirelessly on the phone day and night to get it done. It’s up to me to deliver now and bring it back home,” affirmed ‘The Jackal’.
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