Saturday May 26th will be a huge night for Carl “The Jackal” Frampton. The Tigers Bay fighter is an unbelievable talent and I believe that his fight with Mexico’s unbeaten Raul Hirales in Nottingham Arena will show the World just how good he truly is. The fight is being broadcast in seven different countries, aired in America on Showtime and Sky Sports 1 HD in the UK. Hirales is unbeaten in 17, with 16 wins, 8 knockouts and 1 draw, so he will be the toughest test so far in Frampton’s career. To be an unbeaten Mexican means a lot as the level of competition in that country is tremendously high, particularly in Carl’s weight division. The fight will be for the IBF Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title and if Carl wins the contest he will automatically enter that organisation’s top 10 rankings. It is fantastic to see a young unbeaten fighter take on another unbeaten prospect and have it showcased on the biggest stage as the main support bout to Carl Froch’s comeback fight against the pound for pound ranked Lucian Bute.
I know how hard Carlos has trained for this fight. It is a tough life when you are in training camp and for Carl it often requires long periods away from his young family’s home in Belfast. But it is these sacrifices that will ultimately pay dividends for the man that I have guided since he turned over to the pro ranks in June 2009. It will be three years as a professional for the twenty-five year old Frampton and he has done remarkably well with everything that has been thrown at him so far. I have no doubt that he can continue his progression up the Super Bantamweight ranks and onto the very top. I am also not alone in these beliefs. Britain’s most consistent and experienced World level performer Carl Froch has this week backed Frampton to go all the way to the top and become a World Champion. It is heartening to hear that a man of Froch’s experience and class has singled Carl out as a future star.
I believe the difference on Saturday night will be a combination of Carl’s superior strength, as he is a phenomenally strong Super Bantamweight, and his ability to mix up his boxing and his aggressive pressure fighting. There is no doubt that Hirales will bring his “A game” which has seen him previously beat fellow Mexican prospect Enrique Bernache last year, but he will not have experienced fighting someone of Frampton’s calibre and strength. Hopefully Carl can put out a big message to the entire World that he is going to be a future star of this sport and one who will entertain TV audiences for years to come.
Talking of entertaining fighters, the two men that Frampton is chief support to on Saturday night can definitely lend their names to this bracket of pugilism. Carl Froch and Lucian Bute have both been involved in some of the most exciting fights of the last few years. Who could forget Froch’s last gasp final round knockout of the former undisputed Middleweight World Champion Jermain Taylor on American soil in 2009. Having been down on points and away from home ‘The Cobra” managed to catch up with his skilled opponent and nail him with the perfect shot to take matters firmly out of the judges hands and retain his WBC title in style. Nor can one fail to remember the incredible final moments of Lucian Bute’s first contest with Mexico’s Librado Andrade in 2008. The incredibly popular Romanian/Canadian Bute was all but knocked down and out in the last round by his marauding opponent only to hang on for the win. The most recognisable figure in Canadian boxing managed to hold onto his IBF belt with a unanimous decision and would need only four short rounds to get his revenge on Andrade in the rematch the following year.
With all of this in mind it is hard to see the Froch-Bute contest being anything other than non-stop action but Carl must be wary of his wily opponent, who has a track record for luring over enthusiastic challengers onto cracking body shots and hurtful combinations. Bute was a World-class amateur and is unbeaten in 30 professional fights with 24 knockouts and he can box the ears of anyone who is not at the top of their game. He also seems to have got better and better throughout his pro career whilst building an army of fans in Canada where he resides as well as back home in his native Romania. Lucian is a tremendous physical specimen, huge for the weight and in the form of his life, with many top boxing journalists ranking him in their top ten pound for pound fighters in the World. I believe Lucian Bute is right up there in terms of skill and ring craftsmanship, and along with Andre Ward, he is one of the best Super Middleweights in the World.
It will take a very well calculated game plan from Froch and his trainer Rob McCracken to beat Bute. Carl will have to be disciplined enough to stick to the plan and know when to apply pressure and use his strength rather than getting caught up in the crowd’s frenzied support and allowing himself to get caught by the spiteful punching Romanian. Bute can be hurt though as shown by Andrade and Froch can bang a bit but should this happen the Nottingham man must take his chance with both hands. I find it difficult to see Froch beating Bute if he does not hurt his super slick opponent and impose his authority throughout the contest. Froch will have tremendous support on the night with the fight being in his home city’s Nottingham Arena and he will have to channel this support into the best performance of his life. Anything less and I fear that “The Cobra” will come up short against his skilful and in form World-class opponent.
I will be in Nottingham for this spectacular night of boxing and will bring you all of the behind the scenes action and news next week. You can watch all of the big fight action live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 10pm this Saturday.