Carl Frampton fights on Nov.18 in Belfast

Image: Carl Frampton fights on Nov.18 in Belfast

By Jeff Aranow: Former 2 weight champion Carl Frampton will be fighting on November 18 against an opponent still to be determined in a 12 round fight at The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This will be the first fight for Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) with his new British promoter Frank Warren.

Frampton, 29, is hoping to win another world title in the summer of next year. As for his next fight in November, Frampton is just hoping that it’s not against a bum. He wants someone good enough to impress his boxing fans. It’ll have been 10 months since Frampton last fought when he gets back inside the ring in November. In Frampton’s last fight, he lost a close 12 round majority decision to Leo Santa Cruz on January 28 in Las Vegas, Nevada. That defeat saw Frampton lose his WBA featherweight title.

Frampton wants to avenge his loss to Santa Cruz, but he’s also interested in challenging for a title against the other 126 lb. champions in Gary Russell Jr., Oscar Valdez and Lee Selby. One of those guys might be the more realistic fight for Frampton next year instead of fighting Santa Cruz again. Frampton needs to look at some other guys before he eventually gets back inside the ring with Santa Cruz for a third fight. In addition to the 126 lb. champions, Frampton is also interested in challenging WBA super featherweight champion Jezreel Corrales for his title.

“I believe that I have another world title in me at this weight but we were also looking at Jezreel Corrales (WBA junior lightweight titleholder),” said Frampton to ”Off his last performance (against Robinson Castellanos), I think I can beat him to become a three-weight world champion.”

Frampton won’t be fighting Corrales on November 18. It’s going to likely one of the contenders in the featherweight division unless his new promoter wants to match him against a 2nd tier fighter. I’m not sure that it matters too much to Frampton’s boxing fans. They just want to see him back inside the ring and looking good after his long layoff. It’s been a while since Frampton really shined in a fight. Frampton has had 3 VERY tough fights in a row against Santa Cruz [x 2] and Scott Quigg. It would be a big accomplishment if Frampton moves up to super featherweight to take Corrales’ WBA title, but there’s still a lot for Frampton to accomplish at 126. If he can clean out the division or if he can no longer make the weight, then it would make sense for him to move up to 130 to go after the champions in that weight class. But for Frampton to move up right away, it would be premature on his part. A lot of boxing fans would read Frampton’s departure from the featherweight division as a sign that he was running away from Santa Cruz and the other top fighters in the division after his disappointing loss. Frampton needs to show that he can turn things around by winning another title at featherweight, and then going after Santa Cruz for a rubber match.

Even before the Quigg fight last year, Frampton was knocked down twice in the 1st round and staggered in the 9th by the late Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. on July 18, 2015. You can’t consider the Gonzalez Jr. fight as an impressive performance for Frampton, even though he won by a fairly lopsided 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 116-108, 116-108 and 115-109. Anytime a fighter gets knocked down twice in a fight and staggered at a separate time, you have to see that as a fight where the fighter didn’t do well. The last really good performance for Frampton came in February 2015 in his 5th round knockout win over Chris Avalos. That was Frampton at his best.

It can’t be a mug, it has to be a credible opponent,” said Frampton at the press conference announcing his return. “I want to get one of the big boys next year and put the last year behind me. The last year has been a disaster. I lost my first fight (to Leo Santa Cruz in January), then my last fight fell through and combine that with everything else that’s gone on.

“The fight I really want is Santa Cruz because I feel that I have a score to settle,” said Frampton. ”But you also have (IBF featherweight titleholder) Lee Selby, (WBO featherweight titleholder) Oscar Valdez and (WBC featherweight titleholder) Gary Russell.”

The best options for Frampton would be to go after either WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez or IBF belt holder Lee Selby. There’s talk that Frampton will challenge Valdez next summer for his title. Valdez’s promoter Bob Arum is said to be interested in matching him against Frampton. It makes sense for Arum to make the Frampton vs. Valdez, fight, because he wants to turn his Mexican fighter Valdez into a star, and he believes he’s the best fighter in the 126 lb. division today. If Valdez is the real deal, then he should be able to defeat Frampton. But if Valdez is just a product of hype, then he’ll lose and possibly lose badly to Frampton.

What can’t be seen as a good sign for Oscar Valdez is the way he was hurt in his last 2 fights by Genesis Servania and Miguel Marriaga. Both guys staggered Valdez. Servania had Valdez down in round 4 of their fight on September 22 in Tucson, Arizona. Valdez got up off the canvas to return the favor in the 5th round in dropping Servania, but he was staggered in the 6th by the Filipino fighter. Frampton would have been real problem for Valdez is it had been him inside the ring on the night. Valdez would have been hard pressed to make it past the 6th round if Frampton was hitting him with the shots Servania was.

In the undercard of Frampton’s next fight on November 18, unbeaten #5 IBF Jamie Conlan (19-0, 11 KOs) will be challenging IBF World super flyweight champion Jrwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18 KOs) for his title. This is a good fight for the 30-year-old Conlan, but it might be a case of the Irish fighter biting off more than he can chew right now. The 25-year-old Filipino Ancajas is looking invincible right now with him having stopped 13 out of his last 14 opponents since 2012. The last guy to go the full 12 rounds with Ancajs was McJoe Arroyo, who was dropped in the 8th, and he ended up losing by the scores 118-109, 115-112 ad 117-110. Conlan hasn’t been facing anywhere near the same quality opposition as Ancajas lately. In Conlan’s last 6 fights, he’s beaten these fighters: Yader Cardoza (22-10-1), David Koos (8-2-1), Patrik Bartos (7-9), Anthony Nelson (11-0), Adrian Dimas Garzon (10-18) and Junior Granados (13-3-1). Conlan is a good fighter, but his management hasn’t ever put him in with any quality fighters until now. Conlan has been fighting in the pro ranks since 2009, and he’s taking a monstrously big step up in class in fighting Ancajas on November 18. It would have been nice to see Conlan face someone in a step up fight to get him ready for what he’s going to be facing when he gets inside the ring with Ancajas. Unfortunately, that’s not happening, so the outcome of the Ancajas-Conlan fight is predictable.

Also on the undercard is WBO World bantamweight champion Zolani Tete (25-3, 20 KOs) defending his title against an opponent still to be determined.