News April 2014

Frampton's Odyssey will come alive in 2014

01.04.14

By @shaun_brown

Carl Frampton

His super-bantamweight odyssey is almost complete. It was an adventure that began nearly six years ago at Liverpoolís Olympia and has taken Carl Frampton (17-0, 12 KOs) to Middlesbrough, London, Huddersfield, Cardiff, Sheffield, Nottingham and most importantly back to Northern Ireland on several occasions.

The final target for ĎThe Jackalí is WBC super-bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz and whether the hit takes place in a Belfast bear pit or on the Vegas strip is irrelevant. Framptonís knock at the championís door grows louder by the week. Itís when not if. This is destiny, he says.

ďI donít want it to sound like Iím talking s**t here but I feel if you talk about destiny then this is going to happen. Iíve been involved in the game for so long. Iím improving all the time. I started boxing when I was 7 and I had the same dream then as I do now. Itís right on my doorstep now. Itís a wee bit poetic. I genuinely believe destiny is going to happen and I feel like it has to happen,Ē he told Livefight last week.

His thoughts matter little to his next opponent Hugo Cazares (40-7-2, 27 KOs). The 36-year-old veteran Mexican stands in the way of Frampton and destiny. The pair lock horns this Friday night at Belfastís Odyssey Arena in a final eliminator to determine who faces Santa Cruz.

Cazares is a two-weight world champion. Heís no mug. And he isnít coming over to his opponentís back yard to make up the numbers. The power punching Frampton is well aware of that and the fact that he hasnít been stopped by an opponent since 1999.

ďI donít know what I was doing in 1999, my Maí was still wiping my nose,Ē Frampton remarked.

ďHeís a good fighter. I think itís going to be my toughest fight. Heís been a world champion before. Heís one position in front of me in the WBC rankings. He has the same dreams as me to fight for another world title and I want to fight for my first. He sees a big showdown with [Leo] Santa Cruz on the horizon likewise so do I. Heís well up for it. Iíve seen some pictures of him in training and he looks in good shape. I think itíll be a tricky fight, my hardest fight so far but Iíll be looking to do a good job and get rid of him and be impressive doing it but itís not going to be easy. Heís travelled as well. Heís won away in Japan. Heís probably been involved in hostile environments so heís used to it. I think Belfast is going to be different to anything heís faced before. I donít think it will shock him like it did Jeremy Parodi for example.

ďIf I get the stoppage itís going to look good. If I win on points as well it doesnít matter as long as itís exciting. If I see an opening in the first round Iím not going to take the foot off the pedal. I wonít be thinking about rounds then, Iíll be getting rid of him.Ē

Thatíll be music to the ears of the faithful Frampton fans which is a legion that is growing with every memorable night that takes place in Belfast. People want to be a part
of this, they want to tell their grandkids ĎI was there the night he beatÖí

ďI think itís going to get bigger and better every time,Ē predicted Frampton.

ďThe [Cazares] fight sold-out 9,000 seats. 4,500 in the first day which is great. The undercard wasnít announced then, that was just the one fight. Thereís a real boxing buzz around the city. If I get a fight in Belfast I go over the week before and train there and you always get people coming up and shaking your hand. The press are very good to me back home too. I enjoy it. I like it. Itís better people talking to me than not talking to me.Ē

Leo Santa Cruz has been doing a bit of talking too. The man with the green belt has had nothing but respect for Frampton and has talked often about facing him in defence of his title. It doesnít matter to ĎTeremotoí where the fight happens. The unbeaten champion just wants to be involved in crowd-pleasing fights and knows this is one of them.

ďIím in a position where Iíve been calling the champion out but heís also been calling me out which is great, said Frampton. ďUsually the champion doesnít pay attention. I think he wants the fight. He wants to be involved in crowd-pleasing fights. I think itíd be a proper humdinger. He kept up his end of the bargain beating Mijares so now Iíve got to do my bit against Cazares.Ē

And Frampton admits to letting his mind wander towards dreaming about that showdownÖ

ďIíd be lying if I said I wasnít thinking about it a little bit. Donít get me wrong on fight night my mind will be on Cazares and Cazares only. He and Santa Cruz are completely different fighters. Every single thing in training has been tailored around how to fight Cazares. Heís the man weíre thinking about it but the carrotís dangling in front of me.Ē

By the end of 2014, Frampton doesnít hope to be world champion he EXPECTS it. There arenít many straight forward options at 126lbs but a win over Cazares then Santa Cruz could lead to fights with Rigondeaux and, whisper it, Scott Quigg.

ďThe fight that people want to see me in now is with Santa Cruz. Quigg hasnít been mentioned that much in interviews. Iíd tell a lie if I said thatís a fight Iím not interested in. I really want that fight because some people think Quigg is the best in the UK and I think different so Iíd like to prove that. Weíve tried to make that fight a number of times and we canít afford to wait for it to happen. I canít put my career on hold. If I beat Cazares then Santa Cruz and become WBC world champion then Iíd be happy to have a first defence Scott Quigg, put it that way.

Frampton even sees a future at featherweight. Win the world title at super-bantamweight, make a couple of defences and move up, he says.

ďI havenít won my first world title yet but how amazing would it be a two-weight world champion?Ē

ďI donít think thereís an Irishman thatís ever done that. [Writer's Note: Steve Collins achieved the feat in the 1990s] I havenít got the height to go up too many divisions but Iíve got the frame and Iím strong enough to go up to featherweight at least. Itís something Iíve thought about. First and foremost I want to win a world title at super bantamweight.Ē

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