Carl Frampton returned to competitive action after 10 months away from the sport. It was also his first fight since his unblemished record was tarnished, losing to Leo Santa Cruz in a majority decision. In the build up Frampton spoke of how he did not obviously show his disappointment obviously in the ring after the fight the defeat had seriously affected him. If you thought he might ease himself back into action to dust off some ring rust with a lower level fighter you would have been mistaken.
Frampton took on experienced Mexican Horacio Garcia. At 27 years of age he had fought 37 times before his encounter with Frampton. While recent fights had not gone his way he remained a threat to the returning former 2 weight champion.
‘The Jackal’ got the better of Garcia over the distance the fight could have been completely different if it was extended by 2 rounds.
Looking sharp early Frampton found his range almost instantly and landed big shots on his opponent. He was on his toes and moved away from the Mexican, who had Canelo Alvarez at ringside to cheer him on. Frampton looked good, as if he had not been away. Making Garcia follow him around and making him look sluggish and flat footed at times.
As the fight moved on into the middle rounds things began to change. Frampton slowed down and started getting pinned up against the ropes, exactly where he did not want to be. Garcia started letting flurries go and Frampton’s legs were unable to move him out of trouble. It was not a case of ‘the Jackal’ wanting to get into a war, he had no choice. He knew it was turning into Garcia’s type of fight and he did not have the energy to do anything to stop it.
Jamie Moore now in Frampton’s corner emphasised the importance of moving and using the jab to the body but in the later round the Northern Irish fighter had to rely on instincts. And he certainly delivered. Parts of Frampton were tested that we rarely get to see. His ability, preparation and game plan are usually so tight that he does not have his engine and desire tested. He dug in and when the chips were down he hung on for the win.
His temperament was also thrown under the microscope. In the 7th round he slipped but due to a punch being landed on the way down it had to be scored a knock-down. He initially threw his hands up and claimed he slipped but that was all. Soon he was back to his feet and trying to steady the ship. It felt that this may make the fight close going down the stretch but in the end it was not important. Frampton won on all 3 judges scorecards; the closest by 3 and the widest by 5. The final card had him winning by 4 points.
Coming through this will have got rid of the worries that were present after his loss to Santa Cruz. Now Frampton wants one of the champions.
“It was a good fight for the fans. I boxed well for the first few rounds but then got myself caught up in a fight. I wanted a hard fight for my comeback and that’s what I got. The rust is off, the cobwebs are gone and now I want to fight one of the big guys.” (Carl Frampton)
The trilogy fight with Santa Cruz is on the cards but there are domestic fighters who will want a piece of Frampton. Lee Selby fights next month and holds the IBF featherweight title. A fight between the pair has been predicted for some time. The one people want to see though is the trilogy fight with Santa Cruz. Another British boxing classic could be on the card if Frampton decides to take on Scott Quigg again or Josh Warrington. The other champions at featherweight are Gary Russel Jr and Oscar Valdez who hold the WBC and WBO respectively. While all those fighters have fights scheduled another possible opponent Abner Mares could step in to face Frampton.
This fight answered a lot of questions for Frampton. He is back and looks great. A changed of team and promoter could be exactly what the 30 year old needs to reinvigerate his career. Coming back in such a tough fight will advance his preperaton for a title fight greatly. 2018 is set to be a huge year for ‘the Jackal’.
Also on the card Jamie Conlan was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in the 6th round as he attempted to win the IBF World super flyweight title. Paddy Barnes moved to 5-0 and recorded his first professional stoppage to claim the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Flyweight title against Eliecer Quezada.
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