When a young lion begins to grow up, he will look to test himself against the old, experienced lion of the pack, if the young lion wins the old lion is shoved out to the side. It’s the ultimate game of the strong survive and that also rings true in the squared circle.
It’s the passing of the torch that happens day in, day out in life and it’s ingrained in combat sports culture when it’s the young cubs turn the old lion must fight to keep its spot. The fight in the Manchester Arena on Saturday night certainly feels like one of these nights, Scott Quigg (35-2-2 KO26), the former world champion and the old veteran lion will face off against Ireland's tenacious young cub Jono Carroll (17-1-1 KO3).
For both men Saturday night is huge, a chance to jump to the front of the queue for a shot at a World title is certainly in the winner's future and Carroll believes the fight will be interesting.
“It’s going to be a very interesting fight, Quigg can bang, he’s very experienced as well, he has a very good guard so it’s up to me to really to put on the performance because at the end of the day he doesn’t throw that many punches so it’s whatever tempo I want to take the fight at.
I’m going to do a lot of things that surprise the boxing world, everyone seems to think I’m just some brawler, but I can do a lot of things, I have a lot of attributes to my game so we’re looking at putting everything together and be smart in this fight.”
Despite the former World champion Quigg branding Carroll ‘pillow fists’ recently, Carroll believes that he can still hurt Quigg.
“I doubt he truly thinks that my record doesn’t speak for anyone who hits hard or anything, but anyone can hurt you with 8-ounce gloves and boxing isn’t about all about hitting hard, there’s no use having a power if you can’t land a punch, power is only as good as you use it I’ve got speed and power.
A lot of my punches are hurting punches, they’re not just one-shot boom and I spark people that’s just not what I do.”
King Kong has seemed to be getting under the skin of Quigg, particularly when asking Scott who he fought in his 4th and 5th fight, in the recent face to face episode, however, Carroll doesn’t understand why the former champ got so agitated.
“The fact of the matter is, I wasn’t even trying to get under his skin, I was just stating facts. Like, mate, I'm not even trying to disrespect you or anything, I just genuinely don’t know, I only found out who his fourth and fifth opponents were yesterday it was actually me Da that text me yesterday and said there are his fifth and sixth opponents.
You know we can all stack up if you look at my second professional fight, if I didn’t stop that fella I’d have bleeding packed it in, certain people are there to be rolled over and some aren’t.”
Carroll believes that after winning Prizefighter at an early stage in his career it became difficult to get him the right fights.
“I never had it easy like I won Prizefighter so young and so early in my career that it was hard to match me they didn’t want to be putting me in with rollovers after beating Gary Buckland, Stephen Foster and even Michael Devine, they all had decent records so there’s no point putting me in with some bum with something like 7 losses and 1 win, it’s just pointless, I was against decent opponents early on and that’s the difference.”
Carroll believes he never disrespected Quigg on the face to face and admits that he feels Quigg has overachieved.
“The thing is, I'm not a natural disrespectful person where respect is due, I give it, I shook his hand and said fair play and I do think he overachieved by becoming a World Champion. I think he done very well with the skill level he has, I think he has done amazing to win a world title but, then I also made a valid point that let's be real mate, you won the belt against Kiko Martinez, Kiko was great but he’s one of those fighters where he either turned up on the night or he didn’t.
But I like stating facts and it was getting under his skin and I wasn’t even trying too I actually felt bad half the time but I was showing respect at the same time like I’m not trying to disrespect you here but at the same time I’m just saying it as it is.”
Carroll says he doesn’t respect the boxers that get into the sport just for money or fame and that you need to have a love for the sport of boxing.
“I respect most boxers that get in there, some do it for the fame and I genuinely don’t think Quigg is one of them, but I don’t respect them, I do it for the love of the sport and I train to be the best boxer I can whereas some people do it for the payday and don’t get me wrong if you’re not getting paid then it’s too risky to be doing it but I don’t like the fighters who are in it just for money either.
When you look at the pros of boxing it’s an amazing sport, it’s really helped my life and career it just kind of gave me a bit of structure early on in my life. Like when Scott said I was doing it for the wrong reasons I was like what? I’m doing this for my family there are so much easier ways to make money and I’m only sticking around for another 3 to 4 years so enjoy me well you can.”
Carroll did admit that he had a hand injury but was willing to fight through the pain barrier before Scott eventually pulled out of the original bout which was set for Ruiz-Joshua II.
“I didn’t really have a reaction, to be honest, I had a bit of a hand injury, but I thought I’ll still beat Scott with a hand injury and worst case scenario I’ll just get a cortisone shot because I just feel like I have the beating of Quigg and I didn’t want to let the Saudi opportunity pass by if I had an opportunity to be on a big card.
I fought in Germany when Fury beat Klitschko so those nights are ones that people dream of so it would have been amazing to be on another world heavyweight championship night as there were a lot of eyes on that night so being on there would have opened me up to a broader audience.”
Carroll also doubts exactly what the injury that forced Quigg out of the contest actually was.
“He said he had an injury which he could have but at the same time he probably wasn’t ready you wouldn’t know, in boxing we always have injuries but I don’t know what his excuse was, he said it was an old injury and stuff and maybe that was the truth but the fact he hasn’t fought in such a long period of time like how would that injury not heal before he was back to camp, but I don’t know, maybe give him the benefit of the doubt and take his word.”
The Irishman feels Quigg's time in the famed Wildcard gym in America may have taken a little out of the Mancunians gas tank and put a few more miles on the clock.
“I heard he was sparring a 122-pound fighters rather than get in with people his own weight because they go to war in Wildcard gym and I think training in the Wildcard gym would have put some mileage on the clock because his style of fighting taking a lot of shots and give one to take one almost, you do that in the Wildcard gym you’re going to get battered doing that.”
Carroll admits that the experience edge is with Quigg but, that Quigg has lost the big nights that he has had.
“He didn’t just lose the two fights to Valdez and Frampton he got absolutely battered in those fights, especially the Valdez one, he actually did well to stay in there with Valdez but at the same time he looked a weight or two above Valdez in there and Oscar is a small enough Featherweight.”
Jono feels like his size and weight advantage will play a factor in the fight and that Quigg will struggle being pushed back.
"That’s a thing as well against Valdez he was only able to push forward because he used his size and weight as an advantage I just don’t think he will be able to do that against me and yes he may hit hard, but he was knocking Bantamweights out, I’ve been 60 kilos since my amateur days when I was about 15, but most of my career has been at Lightweight.
Even Prizefighter I fought Buckland and Foster and Lightweight that’s a weight above where I was at, I’m a lot bigger and stronger now, you’re going to see a young lion in with an old lion in there and that will play a big factor in round four or five.”
Carroll says he has no plans on who to fight when he is victorious on Saturday night.
“To be honest, I don’t care who’s next, the belts are exchanging hands like it’s nobody's business, so when I’m back fighting for the titles they may be gone like Jo Jo Diaz is the IBF now so there is no point in me wanting that rematch with Tevin when all of a sudden his belt is gone now, I don’t really look at the champions I just concentrate on being the best boxer I can be and leave all the matchmaking down to MTK they get me the right opponents at the right time like this Scott Quigg fight.”
Carroll admits he’d love to square off against one of Irelands best in the form of the Jackal and two-weight World Champion, Carl Frampton.
“I’d love to share the ring with Carl as well, I remember watching him when I was a kid and thinking, fuck me, he’s some boxer, so it would be a pleasure to share the ring with him.”
In terms of a prediction for the fight, Carroll is split on how the fight goes.
“It’s going to be a great interesting fight so don’t miss it because this fight anything can happen, it’s kind of a fighter against a fighter but I can box better than him so it’s like a boxer against a fighter, I think our styles will gel nicely.
I’m half feeling a knockout for this fight, I think the odds are against me to get a knockout, so I do think it will be a unanimous decision but if I pace myself right and do the right things then I could get him out of there in rounds seven or eight.”
We are certainly in for a great fight in Manchester on Saturday night, and as Carroll says himself, do not miss it.