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The Year Of The Jackal?

Carl FramptonBy Olly Campbell: It’s incredibly difficult for me not to feel just a little bit sorry for Belfast’s Super Bantamweight sensation, Carl “The Jackal” Frampton. After beating the vastly more experienced Spaniard Kiko Martinez in a European title fight almost a year ago, he then had to watch a mixture of fate and injustice conspire to allow Martinez to capture world honors just six months later, while he was left by the wayside.

The sight of Martinez crumpled on the floor in the 9th round of that Feb 2013 clash, has led Frampton manager and mentor, Barry McGuigan to assert that the Spanish fighter wants no part of a rematch with his IBF title on the line. In an interview with BoxNation, McGuigan went further, saying team Frampton had been strung along by Martinez despite offering considerably more money than he received for their first encounter.

It would seem that Frampton has become one of the most feared fighters in the super bantamweight division, racking up an impressive 17 fight win streak. Victories over the likes of Martinez and ex world champion Steve Molitor have only cemented his reputation as one of the finest young fighters out there.

On April 4th at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Frampton fights a homecoming bout against the wily veteran fighter Hugo Cazares. This fight has largely been bought about by the refusal of Martinez to sign for an IBF title fight and rematch. Team Frampton have thus decided to go down the WBC route, and this fight against Cazares is a final eliminater for the belt held by Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz.

In his BoxNation segment, McGuigan stated his belief that Santa Cruz wants the fight, and that negotiations between Team Frampton and Golden Boy shall intensify should both fighters come through their next bouts. (Santa Cruz also fights a veteran next, fellow countryman Cristian Mijares on 8th March)

In my humble opinion a Frampton/Santa Cruz fight is perfectly winnable for Carl and a mouth watering prospect for true fans. The somewhat gangly Santa Cruz is ideal for a guy of Frampton’s stockier, smaller stature, in that he can use his superior speed and power to get inside the jab and go to work. It would be a case of trying to win the early rounds and go in for the kill in the last third. However, it would be extremely foolish to count out a fighter of Santa Criss quality. He is not the sort of fighter to let an undefeated record and a world title go easily. Especially as I imagine Frampton having to travel for this one. Santa Cruz has slick skills of his own as a former bantamweight champion, and despite his skinny arms carries deceptive power. Just over half his fights have been stopped early. Either way, later in the year, this writer sees this being one of THE fights of 2014.

For those of us who believe in Carl Frampton, there are a couple of other cracking fights the division has to offer him. These contests, due to Carl’s exciting style, also have the potential to be explosive.

For us Brits, the obvious one is a domestic clash against WBA (reg) champion, Bury’s Scott Quigg. The two have been on a collision course for much of their pro careers, and should Frampton beat Santa Cruz, an Autumn/winter unification between these two would be MASSIVE for British boxing. Again, its a perfectly winnable fight for Frampton, though Quigg has skills of his own and would obviously fancy the job. I’m sure fans of both have ideas of their own as to how this one would play out. My only thoughts are that as far as us, the fans are concerned, there can be NO losers.

This article would not be complete without me throwing out what I consider to be the toughest option for Frampton. Despite being the least experienced professionally, and with accusations of his fights being boring, one would be foolish to ignore WBA (super) and WBO champion Guillermo Rigondeaux from this discussion. Let’s face the facts, this guy is a master technician and with such vast amateur experience, he has glided into the professional game with consummate ease. Rigondeaux is a very special fighter in my opinion. Yet so is Carl Frampton. It would be an amazing unification bout if Carl captures the WBC this year. And let’s not forget, Rigondeaux has been traveling before when he destroyed Irish prospect Willie Casey, then undefeated, in Dublin a few years back. If Frampton could secure home advantage in Northern Ireland at the Odyssey, then I’m certain the roof would come off!

Fighting Rigondeaux would be a chess match for a technically skilled fighter like Frampton, and to a casual fan I’m sure, not the most exciting. I’d put money on it going the distance, because in my opinion these two ARE the elite of the division. For me personally, it would have the appeal of some of the real classics, but obviously wouldn’t be looked at that way. I’m thinking Roy Jones vs James Toney. The sort of 50/50 fight that sadly could never be as big because the smaller weights have never captured the attention of the bigger weight classes. Also, it doesn’t involve an American fighter!

I’m only playing of course, yet regardless how things play out, Frampton cannot look past his final eliminator on the 4th April. I hope real fans agree that Carl is something special with the talent to really go places and POSSIBLY clean out that division. Now wouldn’t that be something?

Thanks as always., Facebook, ollycampbell.666

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