CRAIG NELSON: Scott Quigg has his wild eyes set on being top of the world
12:00pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in Sport
MY hopes and prayers will be with Scott Quigg tonight as the 25-year-old Bolton-based boxer takes on dangerous Cuban opponent Yoandris Salinas in his first world title bout.
In a quirk of the sport, the Bury fighter goes into the showdown at the O2 Arena in London as the de facto WBA super-bantamweight champion after being awarded the vacant belt in advance of the fight.
So even if he draws on the night, he will remain the champion of the world.
Not that that will be good enough for this remarkable young man.
I have been lucky enough to cover Scott’s rise to prominence, from his victories as British champion to an unforgettable sixth-round stoppage of Rendall Munroe to win the WBA interim title last November.
That was the highlight of his career so far in front of a partisan crowd at Manchester Arena on the undercard of Ricky Hatton’s ill-fated comeback.
It was an awesome, coming-of-age performance that shocked a number of pundits and underlined his credentials against a man who had at one time been considered world class himself.
Ever the pessimist, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by his display, but in hindsight I’m not sure any doubts I had were ever justified.
I’m a strong believer of the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul.
On fight night, and indeed in the weeks leading up to an important bout, Scott has these striking wild eyes that put the fear of God in men, as I’m sure they do his opponents.
His piercing stare signifies a man you would not want to mess with and reminds me of Eric Cantona’s comment about Roy Keane that he had “a bit of the devil in him”.
Joe Gallagher – his trainer at Amir Khan’s Gloves Gym – gave further evidence of Quigg’s fear factor when describing the weeks leading up to the big fight.
The young fighter’s destiny was supposed to be assured last weekend on the undercard of the David Haye v Tyson Fury bout before Haye sustained a serious cut in training and it had to be postponed.
Gallagher said he was scared to break the news to his protégé in fear of being “decked”.
The experienced trainer also revealed it took him 20 minutes to talk Quigg round this week after he insisted on doing extra sessions in the gym.
While the young fighter should have been resting up and conserving energy, Gallagher admitted it was difficult to persuade him to take a step back, but that has always been Quigg’s strongest quality.
I have never met anyone so focused – he certainly has the mindset of a champion.
Now let’s just hope he still has the eye of the tiger after what should be his crowning glory.