Will Frampton’s Disastrous 2017 End Well?

The city of Belfast will come to a standstill on Saturday night when local hero Carl Frampton enters the ring for his first fight on home turf in two and a half long years.

Headlining a stacked card at the SSE Arena, ‘The Jackal’ takes on Mexican Horacio Garcia in a ten-rounder. Our boxing odds expert Adrian Clarke tells us what to expect…

Northern Ireland’s golden boy has had a year he’ll want to forget.

As if losing his precious world title belts last January to Leo Santa Cruz wasn’t hurtful enough, he has since seen his original ‘homecoming’ bout called off at the 11th hour (after he’d failed to make the weight and his opponent bizarrely slipped in the hotel shower). Not to mention being part of an acrimonious split from mentor Barry McGuigan and his trainer son, Shane.

No one has yet explained the reasons for his break up with the much-loved McGuigan family, and for those of us standing in the neutral corner, it feels incredibly sad, but Frampton will turn up in Belfast’s mecca of boxing with a new coach, promoter and management team.

It is very much a fresh start for the 30-year-old.

His opponent has been selected wisely.

Horacio Garcia is not ranked in the top 15 by the WBC, WBA, IBF or WBO, but has mixed with good company down the years. A respectable 33-3-1 record, featuring no stoppages, tells us he will be nothing if not durable.

Carl Frampton returns! 🔥

The Jackal makes his BT Sport debut this Saturday…

— BT Sport Boxing 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) November 13, 2017

Does he have the punching power or finesse to beat Frampton? No.

But this teak-tough Mexican does have every chance of taking the former world super bantamweight and featherweight champion the distance. And with a need to shake off ring rust ahead of a bounce-back year in 2018, ten rounds of competitive action will not be a disaster.

The hope is that Frampton’s mindset is more positive than it’s been for the last 18 months or so.

His mood had become increasingly downcast. Constant talk about how much he hated training, how difficult he found it getting down to fighting weight, and how excited he was by the thought of retirement, it was felt his drive was on the wane.

To return to the elite level where he belongs, up against significantly more skilled operators than Garcia, attitudes need to change.

Prior to this fight, he insists new trainer Jamie Moore has reinvigorated his love for the sport, and I guess we’ll find out just how much when he steps between the ropes on Saturday evening.

Frampton recently stated he now wants to spend ‘five more years’ at the top of his division.

A huge all-British fight with Lee Selby would sell out his beloved Windsor Park Stadium, and should he prevail there, his dream is to win back the belts he lost to Santa Cruz in a winner-takes-all, third and final decider with the Mexican champion.

To make those fights happen, the Jackal must get back in the saddle this weekend and impress.

Equally comfortable on the front or back foot, I expect him to pick Garcia off in clinical fashion, even if his display is bound to be a touch rough around the edges.

His invincible record may have gone, but Frampton remains one of British boxing’s most gifted and exciting champions. He is a class act.

To return to the big time, all he needs to do is show that his head is in the right place. Thousands of Irish fans will be baying for that to happen on Saturday night.

If Frampton can’t find the necessary hunger, I fear this may be the beginning of the end.


Frampton to win on points








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