January 24, 2017
January 24, 2017
Carl Frampton

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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RICKY HATTON’S legion of fans took over Las Vegas when the loveable Mancunian fought in Sin City, and this week Carl Frampton’s followers are set to do the same.

Frampton defends his WBA featherweight title against Leo Santa Cruz at the MGM Grand on Saturday in a rematch of their fiery encounter last year.

Though he is fighting thousands of miles away from his hometown, Belfast, there are set to be huge pockets of support for him on the night.

“I tell the guys all the time, be nice because people will come and support you. Look what’s  happened with Frampton, we took 16,000 people to Manchester [for Frampton’s fight against Scott Quigg last year]. It’s an awful lot less of a journey than it is to Vegas, but we’ve got almost 5,000 people coming out here. That is shocking,” Frampton’s mentor, Barry McGuigan, told Boxing News from his hotel room in Las Vegas.

If that number is accurate, it would eclipse the 3,000-strong army of fans Hatton brought over for his Vegas debut against Juan Urango in 2007.

That win set Hatton up with a huge fight against Floyd Mayweather – in Las Vegas – and he fought there plenty of other times.

If Frampton prevails this weekend, there will surely be more Las Vegas nights in his future. McGuigan himself cultivated an enormous following during his career, culminating in millions of people watching his 1985 win over Eusebio Pedroza (for the same belt Frampton now holds).

“When you think about that, all of these fans, they become part of your life, and when they look back they’ll say ‘I remember way back in 2017 when we went to Las Vegas,'” he continued.

“It’s become part of their life, just like how people still talk to me about my fight. I just want to give my experience back to these kids and if they don’t want it, that’s fine, nobody’s going to be exactly like me, Carl’s not exactly like me. He’s similar to me in many ways but he’s a completely different fighter. He’s a nice kid and he’s taken on board advice that I’ve given him all the way through.”