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Barry McGuigan Interview: The Clones Cyclone Invites Real Combat Media to Belfast for Frampton vs Santa Cruz Rematch and a Cold Guinness Brew

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

Part II: In an Real Combat Media international interview exclusive at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, last week, former World Boxing Association World Featherweight champion Barry ‘The Clones Cyclone’ McGuigan, manager of World Boxing Association World Featherweight Champion Carl Frampton, spoke to Real Combat Media after Frampton’s win over Leo Santa Cruz, and hinted about a possible rematch between the two championship fighters in Belfast, Northern Ireland next year, and invited me to come.

Barry McGuigan: “Robert, I want you to come over to Northern Ireland for the rematch with Leo Santa Cruz next year. You’ll love it! The people and the atmosphere in Belfast, there’s nothing like it!”

Robert Brizel: “You mean you want me to come over to Belfast to cover the rematch for Real Combat Media? I have never been to Ireland! I don’t drink!”

Barry McGuigan: “You’ll love it! I’ll buy you a cold Guinness brew!”

Robert Brizel: “Barry, you have in the United States before as a fighter. How does it feel to be back as the manager of a world champion, and father of the trainer of the world champion (Shane McGuigan)? What was your overall experience over here? Did you enjoy it?”

Barry Mcguigan: “It is such a privilege to be here in the United States with Carl, my son Shane, and the promoters, and my son Shane, Carl’s trainer. It’s such confusion because my son Shane McGuigan’s name sounds like mine. Shane is the coach. He works with David Haye, Josh Taylor, Josh Pritchard, Anthony Cacace and Conrad Cummings. One of our fighters is suspended now. He’s a great talent (name revealed in this interview but not revealed by this reporter for reasons of privacy). It’s a medical issue. We need to sort these things out, I cannot go into detail. My son is getting better as trainer. We’re pushing guys away from the door. There are only so many guys we can work with (in our gym). My son Shane is meticulous with everything he does (as a trainer). He got a bunch of guys (working with him), great coaches, (and) great strength and conditioning coaches, with helpers and guys like massage therapists, little geniuses who work on great technical (training) details.”

Robert Brizel: “When you were offered this fight in Belfast, did you have any misgivings about coming to the United States (again with Carl Frampton)?”

Barry McGuigan: “None whatsoever. We knew that (taking) the fight in Texas last year was a mistake.”

Reader’s Note: At the Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas, on July 18, 2015, challenger Alejandro Gonzalez knocked down Carl Frampton twice in the first round. Frampton went on to retain his IBF World Super Bantamweight title by 12 round decision.

Robert Brizel: “Not your best performance.”

Barry McGuigan: “No (it wasn’t). The weight thing was one of the big issues, and more importantly we ran into Alejandro Gonzalez, who thought he was going to knock Carl out.
He (Carl) paid the price, got knocked on his ass, got up, and won nine of the remaining eleven rounds. So that was a good performance (for Carl).”

Robert Brizel: “And also a lesson.”

Barry McGuigan: “An invaluable lesson not to underestimate your opponent. Not to walk into guys that can hit you really hard at long distance (punching range). We learned a valuable lesson.”

Robert Brizel: “And it affected your strategy (approach) to the Santa Cruz fight.”

Barry McGuigan: “No. The Gonzalez fight did not affect my strategy for Carl’s fight with Leo Santa Cruz. We got Gonzalez’ tactics wrong. Carl paid the price and learned a valuable lesson. As a (direct) consequence of fighting Gonzalez, what that fight gave us, we were willing to fight Leo Santa Cruz. He wasn’t a risk. We beat (Scott) Quigg. We beat him convincingly, (and) we broke his jaw in the process. We beat Leo Santa Cruz, and I thought Carl won convincingly over Santa Cruz too.”

Robert Brizel: “When you came over here (to the United States) did you have any misgiving about the referees and the judges? You have your own experiences (in this regard, as a world champion boxer yourself). How do you feel your camp was treated?”

Barry McGuigan: “We have been treated impeccably. I want to thank Al Haymon, and I want to thank all of the officials here in New York. I want to thank Lou DiBella. Things didn’t go as comfortably as we could have. There were an awful lot of issues with the medicals, which seemed to be over excessive.”

Robert Brizel: “Maybe (you were tested to excess) because the athletic commissions now are all worried about PEDs (athletes using performance enhancing drugs.”

Barry McGuigan: “It also happened as a response to a bout with Magomed Abdusalamov, who got a brain injury in New York City from fighting Mikey Perez at Madison quare Garden in 2013 (A Cuban heavyweight fighting out of Cork, Ireland) so I can understand (their concern with safety).”

Robert Brizel: “Well, it is well known the New York State Athletic Commission has also been through its own trials and tribulations lately (the departures of David Berlin and Thomas Hoover from the commission). It may also not be related to you.”

Barry McGuigan: “Yes, I’m aware of it.”

Robert Brizel: “Now, when you came in here (to the Barclays Center) did you expect to see so many people from Belfast? Out of a crowd of 9000 people, there had to be at least six of seven thousand people here. Did you expect that sort of support for your fighter here?”

Barry McGuigan: “Yes, and I tell you what you’re going to do. When you come to Northern Ireland. When you come to Belfast, you will see the atmosphere that we generate! It is like nowhere else in the world. I’m telling you, it’s the same with our Irish people over there as it was over here. It is incredible! We knew the atmosphere (at Barclays Center) was going to be electric! We knew we would have the majority of the support, and people don’t realize the passion we have in those audiences. It’s just incredible!”

Robert Brizel: “It’s been awhile since your ring days as world champion. Tell me the truth, Barry. Do you miss it?”

Barry McGuigan: “No, I don’t miss it. I don’t miss one part of it. I’ve gone through the experience of my life working with my kids (in my gym), working with my boys, generating talent, watching these kids reach their potential. It is the greatest gratification in the world when you are not a fighter (anymore) the next best things is loving kids and helping them reach their potential.”

Robert Brizel: “You saw Ricky Hatton go in tonight as the trainer with junior middleweight Sergey Rabchenko, who got stopped by Tony Harrison. Of course, Ricky has come a long way overcoming alcohol and drug issues to put his own life back together, and pout himself back on track as a successful trainer. We all wish him the best. Did you think it was a fault in training, or did you think Rabchenko fought the wrong sort of fight?”

Barry McGuigan: “Unfortunately, Robert, I didn’t see it. We were in our dressing room. I can’t really comment on it.”

Robert Brizel: “There was a big difference in the size of the two fighters.”

Barry McGuigan: “Tony Harrison is one of the biggest junior middleweights I have seen in my life. He’s huge. How he makes 154 pounds is beyond me.”

Robert Brizel: “He fought his previous bout at 160.”

Barry McGuigan: “He’s a serious talent. No question about it.”

Robert Brizel: “It was actually a pretty close fight for eight rounds.”

Reader’s Note: Tony Harrison knocked Sergey Rabchenko down, and stopped him in the ninth round. Actually press had Rabchenko winning the eighth round. Rabchenko did not hold the whole fight, and did not show any ability as a power hitter, and it didn’t seem like Hatton did that sort of power training work like you do.”

Barry McGuigan: “I don’t want to say anything negative about Ricky, he’s a great guy. I think Shane (my son) is a phenomenal coach, and Carl Frampton is a great talent. With that mix, you get great results. You do things meticulously, and go into great detail to get things right. There’s no money left. We spend great deals of money to make sure everything is covered. Every potential scenario is covered, like getting the best sparring. The best coaches. The best training.”

Robert Brizel: “The best sponsorship.”

Barry McGuigan: “And sponsorship. Trying to get sponsorship isn’t always easy. but it’ll be a lot more easy now after (Carl) winning tonight.”

Robert Brizel: “Lee Selby was here. You heard the name Gary Russell thrown out, and some other names. Is there anybody you are thinking of, that you or Shane would like to see Carl fight next, or is is basically an open door to anyone who would like to come to Belfast who is qualified?”

Barry McGuigan: “We are going to have a number of possible scenarios for Carl, possible fights, etcetera, and we’re going to wait and see. We’re not going to commit to anyone yet.”

Robert Brizel: “Thank you spending time with Real Combat Media, and we accept your invitation to come to Northern Ireland for Carl’s next fight there, when it happens. All the best!”

Barry McGuigan: “Thank you.”

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Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert is the Head Boxing Correspondent for Real Combat Media Boxing since 2013. Robert is also a photographer and ringside reporter for the RCM Tri State region which includes NJ, NY and PA. Robert conducts exclusive interviews, provides historical boxing articles and provides editorial ringside coverage of major boxing events. You can contact or follow Robert on Facebook and by email at robertbrizel@realcombatmedia.com.