Boxing

Career could be over if I lose to Gutierrez says Carl Frampton

Carl Frampton says Saturday night's rumble is a "must-win" fight for him

CARL Frampton admits his career could be over if he loses on Saturday night.

As hard as that prospect is to stomach, it’s impossible to dismiss. Losing to Andres Gutierrez, a game fighter but not on any independent shortlist of the world’s top featherweights, would mean back-to-back losses for 30-year-old Frampton and also deal a crippling blow to his chances of forcing a way back into the elite title mix.

Frampton, who looked fit, strong and relaxed at yesterday’s open workout, knows he has to win to rebound from losing to Leo Santa Cruz in January and return to the world stage.

“I love Belfast, I love fighting at home – fight week and the whole atmosphere – so it was important for me to get back and fight in Belfast,” he said yesterday.

“There’s pressure on me in this fight because it’s a must-win for me. My career potentially is over if I don’t win this fight so that brings pressure in itself. But there’s no pressure fighting in Belfast – I wanted to do this, I wanted to fight in Belfast, it excites me and I’m looking forward to it.”

He says he’s in the right place physically and mentally after struggling to come to terms with that points loss in the Santa Cruz rematch in Las Vegas.

“I’m in a good place and I’m ready to go,” he said.

“It took me a while to get over that defeat (to Santa Cruz) but when I sat down and evaluated everything I got beat by a three-weight world champion, I had a bad night, he boxed out of his skin and it was still close enough.

“I think the right man deserved to win the fight but when you put everything into perspective it (the loss) is not such a bad thing. If I keep winning and he keeps winning it set it up for the next one.”

Meanwhile, his opponent Andres Gutierrez was greeted with polite applause by the hundreds of fans in attendance when he ducked through the ropes at the Victoria Square shopping centre.

“He’s a good fighter,” Frampton acknowledged.

“He’s a hard puncher and he’s had more knockout wins (25) than I’ve had fights (24). He’ll be good, he’ll be up for it, he has a good, tight defence and he’ll be hard to break down.

“But I believe that if I’m on form I’m the best featherweight in the world but I need to go out and prove that and pit in a good performance on Saturday night.”

At 30, Frampton is six years older than Gutierrez. His Mexican opponent sees that as a real factor in the fight, but ‘the Jackal’ disagrees.

“Thirty used to be old in this sport but not any more,” he said.

“I’m still feeling good, I feel like I’ve improved, I feel like my engine has improved. At 24, I would have struggled to do 12 rounds, but at 30 I feel strong and I can do 12 rounds no problem.

“The age factor just means experience and I’ve been involved in some big fights, I’m a more experienced fighter than he is and I’ve been at the top of this game for a number of years now and I think that’s going to be the real difference.”

He added: “We have a gameplan and I just want to get back to doing what I do best.

“My best attribute, I believe, is my feet and I have kind of neglected them for the last couple of fights.

“We’ll see what happens on Saturday night. I’m expecting a certain type of fight from him and he might change it up like Santa Cruz did in the second fight but whatever he has I’ll be ready to deal with it.”

Frampton knows the risks on Saturday night, but he is still determined to fight at Windsor Park before the curtain comes down on his career.

“I was disappointed that this fight couldn’t be at Windsor,” he said.

“I would look back on my career with great regret if that fight never came off at Windsor Park. Before I hang them up I would like to fight there at least once.”

Carl Frampton meets his fans at Victoria Square in Belfast for his live workout ahead of his big fight on Saturday Picture by Hugh Russell.

Carl Frampton says defeat on Saturday could end his career Picture by Hugh Russell.

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