Carl Frampton: there's no way Jamel Herring can beat me in three-weight world title bid
CARL Frampton’s courtroom drama in Belfast this year unfolded just a mile and-a-half or so up the road from where he’d won his first world title on an unforgettable night in September 2014.
Much has happened since that spectacular night of IBF world title drama over six years ago including that high-profile parting of the ways with former manager and mentor Barry McGuigan.
Now, box-fighter Frampton is fully focused again and set to pour mind, body and soul into his bid to become a three-weight world champion.
First and foremost, Frampton is a family man but this year – perhaps for the last time - there won’t be much time for turkey and Christmas pud.
He’ll be busy and preoccupied preparing for WBO champion Jamel Herring and February 6 in London is looking like the date and venue but there is talk that Josh Warrington could be scheduled for the same night so Frampton-Herring could be pushed to February 20.
Herring is a former US Marine who saw action in Iraq.
He is tall, experienced and under-rated and having the fight in London, away from the screaming hordes of Frampton fans that have turned Belfast venues into bear pits is another advantage to go along with Herring’s superior height and reach.
“I have been confident and I know that I have the beating off him,” says Frampton.
“The way I’m feeling at the minute and even getting the feedback off Anto (Cacace) from the sparring… I’m very confident I’m going to beat this guy, I really am.”
A win over Herring would rekindle the fantastic fight nights when the battling little Belfast boxer won his title at super-bantam by beating Martinez, unified it against Scott Quigg and then landed the featherweight belt by beating Leo Santa Cruz in New York.
Beating Herring and becoming the first Irish fighter to clinch a hat-trick would be special on many levels.
“The chance to become a three-weight world champion and go down in history as the first Irishman to be a three-world champion… That’s something that I don’t want to give up,” he says.
“People talk about him being a US Marine and being mentally strong but there’s not a chance that I’ll let this guy beat me. Not a chance in hell.
“No matter what he brings I feel like I’ve got an answer for it. People think because I’m short I’m going to have to bull in from the start but I don’t feel like that.
‘’I think I can out-box this guy as well.
‘’There’ll be times when I’ll have to stand and have a fight too but although I’m the shorter man in the fight, my distance control is better than his, my feet are better than his, I punch faster than him…
‘’What he has got on his side is height and reach but everything else is in my favour. I really do believe that.
“I’ll need to be as good as I’ve ever been to win this fight but I feel that I can produce that, I can produce a night like that and I can beat this guy and not just beat him, I feel like I can beat him up.
"I feel I can win the fight convincingly and that’s what I intend to do.
“I went on holiday the day after the last fight (a stoppage win over Darren Traynor in August) and met Christine and the kids over there.
‘’For the first time ever in my life I did three sessions while I was away. I’d never done that before.
‘’I always take at least 10 days off but I did a few sessions, when I came back I trained in Monkstown ABC with Paul Johnston, I was running and Paddy Barnes was coming out to my house doing Paddy Box sessions with me just to keep me ticking over.’’
The distraction of the courtroom, meant Frampton wasn’t able to train as he would have liked.
‘’But I was fit coming into this camp, fitter than I have been at the start of a camp for a few years, so the signs are good.”
He’s been sparring Anto Cacace – once a stablemate at McGuigan’s London gym – and says it’s the perfect preparation for Herring.
“He’s very, very clever. The thing with Anto is that he’s as tall as Herring.
‘’Naturally he’s not a southpaw but he fights southpaw but he fights southpaw as good as he fights orthodox. He fought southpaw against Martin J Ward for the whole fight.
“So, he’s a quality fighter and he’s a puncher.
‘’Without taking anything for granted about Herring’s power, I know for a fact Anto punches harder than him so I need to be switched on throughout the sparring. It’s been great for me.
“I sparred him in Belfast and over here so I’m well ahead of where I need to be and I’m still waiting on a date. So, it’s all going well.”
Meanwhile Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez added the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles to his collection by unanimous decision after a dominant performance over Liverpool's Callum Smith at the weekend.
The Mexican, in his first bout since November 2019, started strong against Smith at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and pressed home the advantage over 12 rounds with two judges scoring it 119-109 in favour of Canelo and the other 117-111.
Alvarez is now a four-division world champion and boasts a 54-1-2 record, taking Smith's WBA strap, and his undefeated record, and the vacant WBC title.
The 30-year-old last tasted defeat against Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2013 and had since seen off Smith's brother Liam in 2016 to take the WBO light middleweight title.
Speaking after the fight, he told DAZN: "My respects for Callum Smith, but as everyone labels me I'm the best in the world and it's for something.
"This is one of the best nights for me, I have conquered the unified titles. One of the greatest nights I've had and I will go for more."
And, in a message for Gennady Golovkin, who he beat in 2018, he said: "My short-term goal is to unify all titles at 168 pounds. Whoever's there, let's go get them."
Alvarez and the Kazakh drew in 2017 and the Mexican scored a narrow win in Las Vegas a year on, and there is now speculation a trilogy may be on the cards.
Smith boasted a height and seven-and-a-half-inch reach advantage over Alvarez but the Mexican superstar was undaunted at being the smaller man, having beaten taller and rangier fighters on a number of occasions in the past.
Smith said: "I'm devastated. Listen, I never wanted to lose, I came here to win. It wasn't my night.
"I don't feel as dominant at 168 as I used to be.
"It could have been a better version of me tonight ... he performed and was the better man."