IS Carl Frampton under pressure? At the weigh-in today, for Saturday’s clash with Nonito Donaire in his Belfast Frampton gave no hint of nerves or anxiety. At the Europa Hotel, standing before his public for the last time before the fight, Carl was a man in control.
He needed to make weight, tomorrow’s fight is garnished with a WBO Interim title, which will crucially put the victor in position to challenge world champion Oscar Valdez. Donaire himself is a great fighter, who has risen through the weights and won multiple world titles. Frampton will need to be in form at the SSE Arena.
Stepping on to the scales, Frampton looked in prime condition, not an ounce of spare flesh on him. Contrasting in fact with Nonito who was a touch spongier, though a fraction taller than the local hero.
After weighing in, as the announcer’s microphone failed, Frampton took charge. He cupped his hands over his mouth and roared, “Eight stone, 13 pounds, three ounces.” A war cry, a declaration and mark of satisfaction all in one.
If he faltered in his last fight, an unexpectedly hard-fought win over Horacio Garcia in November, Frampton does not lack motivation now.
“This is a huge fight,” Carl said. “Nonito Donaire is the biggest fighter to come to Belfast, a foreign fighter. It’s a huge fight, a big fight.”
“Legacy is one of these things, security, there are so many motivational factors here for me but again I think doubters are one of the main driving forces,” he continued. “I’ve been doubted more than I’ve ever been doubted in my career. Only a year ago I was a featherweight world champion. I’d beaten Leo Santa Cruz.
“Then lose a fight to Leo Santa Cruz in an under par performance and suddenly I’m done and that’s it, it’s the end of the line. Boxing fans are fickle and people like to jump on the bandwagon. When fighters are at the top they give them a lot of grief, I’m sure Nonito has been the subject of that himself. There’s so many driving forces here for me.”
Both men are fighting for their respective legacies. “I don’t want to be forgotten in 10 years, 15 years,” Frampton explained. “I just want to be remembered as a great fighter.”
“To call myself the champion of the world again is a huge thing for me,” he declared. “I’m not going to be calling myself a champion after this fight, I need to beat people like Valdez, or Santa Cruz or [Lee] Selby to call yourself a champion. But that’s what I intend to do. I don’t want to look too far ahead because I’ve got a very, very important fight here on my hands on Saturday night. I’ve got the most accomplished fighter I’ve ever faced standing on the other side of the ring of me. I need to be fully focused on that. Then Sunday the 22nd we can look to the future and take on one of the world champions.”