All roads now lead to Windsor Effin' Park for Frampton after victory over Donaire
JIMMY Nesbitt’s well-juiced visage and retro Norn Iron shirt combo were nowhere to be seen ringside or floorside at Belfast’s SSE Arena on Saturday night.
It was to the overall detriment of live television – a serious body shot to the liver of the rubbernecking massif ahead of the Jackal’s intriguing bromantic war with the Filipino Flash.
That said, there was still plenty to gawp at from a visibly wilting sofa two miles away from the action in spite of Jimmy’s apparent dose of cold feet/turkey.
Rory McIlroy, whose putter had probably headed somewhere else three rounds into the sesh, was in the house (not mine) with his spare caddy Stephen Augusta Watson.
That cheeky cherub who makes three-piece whistles for almost everybody on Twitter was also perpetual motion and chitter in the second (Savile) row, measuring necks, waists and inside legs by eye all over the shop.
The undercard, meantime, served up some fairly underwhelming chaff.
Conrad Cummings failed to get to grips with dancing Dub Cool Hand Luke Keeler. The latter snared the European middleweight strap, albeit with a lid like a butcher’s doggy bag after a clash of boulders mid-fight.
South African bantam blaster Zolani Tete then snoozed his way to a landslide cum avalanche decision over mandatory ‘challenger’ Omar Narvaez. The Argentine might now consider an alternative career in running backwards and throwing fewer punches than a Burton’s dummy with no arms.
Those familiar lilting strains of Neil Diamond staple Sweet Caroline soon filled the night air as the main event loomed. Our Rory, with respect, had the awkward jib of a man who wasn’t totally sure whether or not to sing and clap along to this particular number. Too soon...
It Woz electric stuff altogether. BT Sport anchor Paul Dempsey’s lacquered mane stood on end as per, while Buncey and Richie Woodhall frothed and mined every exclamation mark and adjective in the book to whip up peak level excitement.
Ex-four-time World champ Nonito Donaire would be a tough night at the office, all yelled, despite showing higher miles on the clock these days than a used Skoda Octavia or big Rogie’s first taxi.
Frampton, however, was now on a hellbent mission to set up his dream summer title scrap at the Charlie Nashnal Stadium/Windsor Park and was looking mean and moody as Jamie Moore laced him up.
Rory’s strength and conditioning guy had been in Carl’s camp, the Dempster informed us, which was a bonus – provided, of course, big Patrick Reed’s chef hadn’t been cooking for Nonito post-weigh-in.
The Filipino was first up with the ringwalk. More rosary beads than a Clonard Novena in high June, he obviously didn’t give two left hooks that he was bang in the mouth of east Belfast.
It was all good, though. A black and orange PVC get-up and a snazzy pair of 16 denier tights completed an, er, unique look that screamed more walk of shame than hall of fame.
The Jackal then emerged to an odd blast of gangsta rap in a blue, white and gold ensemble as nine thousand voices then went boogaloo against a mashed-up Neil Diamond and SUFTUM medley that wouldn’t have had Tom Jones pressing a big red button any time soon.
A bucket of talc and a fire brigade thankfully weren’t needed to extricate the Flash from his airtight pluck and it was straight to work.
The tone was soon set. The Jackal seized firm control, denting Donaire’s left eye socket early doors.
From first bell to last, though, the Flash only ever looked one blaze of uppercuts and blur of hooks away from reprising the old magic despite the Jackal’s dominance.
With commentator John Rawling’s head still blown clean off by Nonito’s housecoat, Welsh Barry on co-commentary hailed Frampton’s power and tactics and made a case for him winning every round despite the visitor’s moments of joy.
In Nonito’s corner, Mrs Donaire was like a lady possessed (hence Nonito’s neckwear, I suppose), her grasp and inventive use of the eff bomb while over-riding Clarence Adams’ more measured advice a spectacular caveat between rounds.
The game, though, was soon up for the legendary Filipino Flash.
After a unanimous decision, hugs and more BFFF hugs, Frampton’s thoughts turned to quote Windsor F****in’ Park unquote some time in the summer.
He also declared his decorated opponent a tough mother-Donald Ducker in front of the camera before quickly apologising for his impulsive unparliamentary linguo.
Big Ronald Mackintosh, a couple of inches taller than Samson on top of Goliath and asking long questions out of an orthodox stance, was fairly scundered but kept his composure while heralding Frampton for a really professional display.
The man from T-Bay chastised the ‘eejit’ who had spun that gangsta rap ditty on his ringwalk instead of Labi Siffre’s Something Inside So Strong as had been agreed as a gesture to his wife Christine and her family.
Not the sort of thing you want to be totally effing up for a guy who’s now back on track and destined for another crack at a World title belt.
Buncey reckoned Oscar Valdez, “a sexy American Mexican”, would be the best bet for an Irish summer joust and Lee Selby could do one.
Whether it now happens at Windsor F****in’ Park or, er, Dublin’s Aviva ‘F****in’ Stadium is anybody’s ‘f***in’ guess at this stage...
Still, hopefully Jimmy can be there.