Carl Frampton can kiss dream of Oscar Valdez fight goodbye if he slips up in Philadelphia
CARL Frampton knows he can kiss the dream of a fight with WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez goodbye if he slips up against Emmanuel Dominguez next month.
Frampton tops the show at the Licouras Center in Philadelphia on August 10 against Mexican Gonzalez who has 18 stoppages wins on his 26-8-2 record. There aren't many names that stand out on his card but he did stop durable Alejandro Hernandez to win the Mexican super-bantamweight title a couple of years ago.
The 25-year-old was the underdog that night and he will be again in Philly but like all hungry fighters, he'll come to win and he has nothing to lose.
“He's got a decent record, he's not a bad fighter,” said Frampton.
“He's a big, tall, young Mexican who has been in against some decent names and I'll need to be on it to beat him. He'll see this as an opportunity to come and beat me as an underdog and get himself in line for more big fights and more big paydays.
“I know for a fact that he's training away. He just fought recently (a knockout win on June 8) so he'll have had a camp behind him and he had plenty of warning for this one so, all in, he'll probably have a longer camp than me. He'll be fit and this is a fight that I must win, it's very important that I win this fight.”
Having been floored by Dominguez's fellow countrymen Alejandro Gonzalez junior (RIP) and Horacio Garcia and beaten in a rematch by Leo Santa Cruz, Frampton is well aware that there are no “easy touch” Mexican fighters.
“They're all hungry guys, they like to fight and they see themselves as warriors,” he said.
“Boxing is a huge sport in Mexico and these guys pride themselves on being hard men. There are no easy touches with the Mexican fighters.
“I know this guy will be up for it. I've been dropped against Gonzalez, I didn't have it all my own way against Horacio Garcia… I won't be taking anything for granted, I'll be treating him as a quality fighter and potentially the hardest fight of my career coming off a loss to Josh Warrington and a long lay-off.
“I'll be fully focussed on this guy for the whole camp. If I don't win it my career's over and that's the bottom line.
“My objective before I hang them up is to win another world title so if I don't win this fight then that dream is shattered. I have to win this fight.”
Now 32, ‘The Jackal' says “smarter is the key” to his training these days. Speaking from Bolton where he was about to train with Jamie Moore, he explained that he has adapted his regime as he has got older.
“You find yourself picking up a few more niggles and stuff and not getting away with things you used to get away with when you were a kid,” he said.
“I have a smarter approach to training, I still train hard and I've started using an oxygen chamber as well which makes you feel like your lungs are coming out through your chest when you do a hard session in there.
“I have changed my approach to training, I feel like I've adapted it slightly and I feel it's a smarter way to train.
“I've been sparring well and I've been sharp even after the long lay-off. My distance is good, I'm reactive and I'm not just trying to bull into people. I know I can do that, I know I can use my strength to get close to people and have a fight, especially against tall, skinny guys but my best attributes are my feet and my distance-control and I've gone back to using them.
“I'm happy with how sparring is going at the minute so I'll be ready, I'll be ready with a big performance.”
Former WBO super-bantamweight champ Jessie Magdaleno is on the undercard in Philadelphia but Valdez remains the target for a world title blockbuster late this year.
“No respect to Jessie Magdaleno but unless he has a world title he's not really going to be on my radar,” said Frampton.
“Valdez is the easiest of the title holders to make because it's an in-house fight, we're both Top Rank fighters and he seems keen for it, people talk to me about overlooking Dominguez but I'm not at all.
“Valdez is the target but only after Dominguez – he is the only guy on my mind at the minute. After that we can talk about the world title fight.”
CARL Frampton doesn't rule out the possibility of enrolling in university for real when his boxing career finally comes to an end.
The two-weight world champion was at Queen's University last week to receive Doctor of the University (DUni) for distinction in sport and says he has realised the importance of education in recent years.
“It was mad really,” said Frampton.
“I felt a wee bit out of place but everyone made me feel very welcome and people looked after me well on the day at Queen's.
“It's a great honour, it's always nice to receive awards and stuff but to be appreciated and respected in your own city is always more important to me. I'm delighted with it.”
Frampton was ear-marked as a future world champion early in his career. He didn't attend a major international Games as an amateur but made rapid strides after turning professional. He admitted that he had “put all his eggs in one basket” and neglected getting the qualifications to fall back on if boxing hadn't worked out for him.
“Absolutely not,” he said with a smile when asked if his path would have taken him to Queen's had he not showed such talent in the ring.
“Queen's is one of the top 100 universities in the world, I would have been happy to get in to do a BTEC or something in a college somewhere. But I feel like I didn't do as well as I could have at school – I'm not daft, I'm brainy enough but I didn't focus on school like I could, I focussed on other things like boxing and even football when I was at school. I didn't really care about homework or anything but I know now that education is something that's very important.
“I put all my eggs in one basket and I have done pretty well in boxing but that's always a risk. If I was speaking to my younger self now I would probably say: ‘Make sure you have an education behind you'.
“It's something I could always do in the future still. I'm interested in a few different things – sports science and nutrition as well is something that interests me being a boxer. So you never know.”