The Jackal Victorious in Belfast

By Caryn A. Tate on November 18, 2017
The Jackal Victorious in Belfast
“We’d have liked a little bit of an easier opponent, but in the long run it’s okay.” (PA)

It was an entertaining bout, perhaps at times more entertaining than it needed to be from Frampton and his team’s perspectives…

From a sold-out SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, local hero Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (24-1, 14 KOs) returned to his hometown to take on Horacio “El Violento” Garcia (33-4, 24 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight bout. Frampton was last seen in January, when he lost his WBA super featherweight world title to Leo Santa Cruz in their rematch. Since then, Frampton overhauled his entire team, leaving his former mentor Barry McGuigan and trainer Shane McGuigan; now, the Irishman is trained by former fighter Jamie Moore, managed by Matthew Macklin’s MTK Global, and is promoted by Frank Warren.

All eyes were on Frampton to see how he would perform in light of all of these changes. His new trainer, Moore, told me that he believes in limiting the amount of sparring done by a fighter at Frampton’s level, and some in the sport were curious whether rolling back the amount of sparring would have a negative impact on Frampton’s performance in the ring.

Garcia, fighting in Ireland for the first time, hails from Guadalajara and is trained by Eddy Reynoso, who also coaches world famous Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Canelo made headlines by attending this fight to support his stablemate from ringside.

Frampton outmaneuvered and outboxed Garcia for the first several rounds. The Irishman controlled the distance incredibly well against a longer and taller fighter (according to BoxRec, Garcia has a 3-inch reach advantage), and artfully utilized angles to keep Garcia at a disadvantage. The BT Sport commentators remarked at one point that Garcia backed up in straight lines, and I would also say that Garcia does most things in straight lines. For Frampton, everything was done at an angle, and Garcia just seemed unable to deal with that.

The local fighter landed at will, peppering Garcia with sharp and accurate shots upstairs and down. To his credit, the Mexican fighter showed a true willingness to engage and never seemed to surrender even in his own mind, which is often the first sign of the end. He kept trying, and he seemed to know that if he could just land a few clean punches, he could win this.

But Frampton never really gave him the chance to land meaningful punches early on. He controlled the distance so well that Garcia typically threw punches that missed entirely, or that Frampton blocked, while the Irishman landed clean and accurate shots of his own.

Around the mid-point in the bout, though, Frampton showed signs of fatigue. He began to throw less, move his feet less, and got hit a bit more. Garcia seemed encouraged from landing more punches, though the winner of the rounds at this point was still clearly Frampton.

“Don’t play to his tune,” trainer Jamie Moore reminded Frampton between the fifth and sixth rounds.

In round seven, Garcia threw a punch that Frampton blocked, but it was hard enough and Carl was off balance enough that he fell backward onto the canvas. The referee gave him a count, despite Frampton indicating he thought it was a slip. It was a slightly tough call—from the replay, it looked like a bit of a push/forearm from Garcia, but it might have been a punch.

The rounds at this stage were a bit closer, but for most of them, Frampton was still landing more and cleaner punches so for me it wasn’t that hard to determine the round winner.

Garcia came on harder in the late rounds. Canelo, seated at ringside, rose out of his seat a few times to shout encouragement at his stablemate. Garcia, sensing his opponent was tiring, landed some good punches that, frankly, the skillful Frampton shouldn’t have gotten caught with. But it appears that Frampton has the temperament of a fighter, and when he gets tired or gets in a bit of trouble, he has a tendency to throw in rather than stepping back and boxing. It makes for fun fights for the fans, but I’d rather see him use his superior ring IQ and control his opponent through the last round.

Still, there were a few moments later in this bout when Frampton’s heart was really on display. Once or twice towards the end, he got caught by a few punches that seemed to bother him, but he never backed down and never seemed even remotely close to relenting.

Garcia, too, should be praised for his immense determination and dogged spirit. What he lacked in skill he more than made up for with his will. It’s easy to see the attributes that Canelo sees in his stablemate that encouraged him to fly around the world to support him on the big stage.

It was an entertaining bout, perhaps at times more entertaining than it needed to be from Frampton and his team’s perspectives, but a highly enjoyable fight that saw Frampton winning by scores of 98-93, 97-93, and 96-93. The first score was a bit wide, but the other two were quite accurate.

In his post-fight interview, Frampton said, “I got myself caught up in a fight. I wanted a hard fight—I didn’t want nothing to be too easy. That’s got the rust off, now the cobwebs are gone, and now I want one of the big boys.”

When asked why he got caught up in such a fight, Frampton responded, “I like to please the fans.” About the knockdown, he said, “I slipped and on the way down he landed a shot, so it’s probably right for [the referee] to call it a knockdown.”

Trainer Jamie Moore was asked what he thought of Frampton’s performance. He said, “It was okay. I think he can do much, much better. As he mentioned, he got dragged into a fight which is great for the fans, but it’s not great for me or anyone else. We’d have liked a little bit of an easier opponent, but in the long run it’s okay. If he’s gonna go in against somebody like Santa Cruz or Mares, that was great preparation for him.”

Frampton was asked who he’d like to face next. “I’ll let my team say—I’ll have a lot of input. I had pretty much all the input on that opponent (Garcia). Now maybe I’ll let my team say who I fight next.”

Prior to the main event, IBF super flyweight world champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas (27-1-1, 18 KOs) defended his title against Belfast native Jamie “The Mexican” Conlan (19-0, 11 KOs). In round one, Conlan went down from what seemed to be a delayed reaction to a punch, perhaps to the temple or from a body shot. Conlan was cut over the left eye from a headbutt in the second round, and Ancajas landed a couple of clear and intentional rabbit punches behind the Irishman’s head in the same stanza. In the third, Ancajas landed a clean straight left to Conlan’s solar plexus that saw the challenger double over. He went down a second time and was in survival mode the rest of that round.

Ancajas controlled the fourth round too, seemingly landing almost at will, and knocked Conlan down a third time at the end of the round with another solar plexus shot. Conlan pounded his fist against the canvas in frustration and barely made the count.

Conlan did better in round five, but Ancajas just seemed too strong and confident as he continued to wear Conlan down. Finally, after the referee took a point from Ancajas for a phantom low blow (it was actually a clean body shot), and then another knockdown, the referee waved it off at 2:07 of round six. The Irishman really showed his heart—he never stopped trying and he has legitimate skill of his own; but Ancajas seems to carry a lot of power for the weight and puts his shots together really well. He’s going to be a tough champion to beat.

Earlier in the evening, Irish Olympic two time bronze medalist Paddy Barnes (5-0, 1 KO) faced Nicaraguan native Eliecer Quezada (21-7, 8 KOs) in a 10-round flyweight bout for the WBO Intercontinental flyweight championship. It was a one-sided affair, with Barnes thoroughly outboxing the more professionally experienced fighter. Barnes dropped his opponent in round two and hit Quezada when he was down and received no punishment via point deduction (or worse, a disqualification). While a deduction wouldn’t have been an awful choice, the foul occurred because the referee didn’t respond quickly enough by breaking up the boxers when one was knocked down, so punishing the fighter for the referee’s error wouldn’t have been the right choice either. Later, at the end of round six, Barnes dropped Quezada heavily with a well-placed hook to the body, and the visiting fighter wasn’t able to beat the count.

Follow Caryn A. Tate on Twitter@carynatate

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  1. Koolz 12:40pm, 11/19/2017

    feel like I am there!

  2. Bruno Schleinstein 08:12pm, 11/18/2017

    Memo to Carl: Stay the fuk away from Los Mexicanos! You’re a fighter sure enough and a good one for sure….but…’re just not big enough….you’re not strong enough ....and you sure as fuk don’t hit hard enough….in fact you hit just hard enough to piss the buggers off and make them fight all the harder! One more thing .....don’t even think about JoJo Diaz…..just put that out of your mind…..period!

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