WHEN Carl Frampton boxes Tyler McCreary at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday (November 30), he’ll be hoping for better luck than the last time he fought in Sin City.
It was in January 2017, at the MGM Grand along the famous Strip, that the Belfast star suffered a split decision loss to previous victim Leo Santa Cruz that cost him not only the WBA featherweight title but also a lot of the momentum he had built up over the years.
Frampton split from Cyclone Promotions to hook up with Frank Warren’s Queensberry outfit and then signed a deal with US giants Top Rank, who promote this event (televised on BT Sport 1 in the UK and on ESPN+ in the US).
He also left trainer Shane McGuigan to join Jamie Moore, but a run of three comeback wins was halted when Josh Warrington outpointed him in an IBF title defence 11 months ago.
Then an August return against Emmanuel Dominguez in Philadelphia was scuppered by a freak accident a few days before – Frampton was sitting in a hotel lobby when a heavy ornament fell onto his left hand and broke a metacarpal.
So the McCreary fight is a chance for Frampton to get back in the ring and also generate interest in a potential challenge to WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring, like Carl promoted by Top Rank.
To that end, the McCreary non-title 10-rounder is made at 128lbs, halfway between feather and super-feather. Over the years Frampton has always needed hard work to get his solid 5ft 5in frame down to first 122lbs (where he won IBF and WBA titles), then 126, so an extra couple of pounds will help him – especially as he turns 33 in February.
McCreary ought to provide a decent workout without upsetting the applecart. A gymmate of former IBF champion Robert Easter Jnr, McCreary is unbeaten in 17 (one draw) but this will be his first fight scheduled for more than eight rounds.
A former good amateur, he accumulated pro experience steadily until being held to a six-round draw in March by Mexican journeyman Roberto Castaneda.
Then in July he won an eight-round split decision over Filipino Jessie Cris Rosales, who in his previous fight had been stopped in four by exceptional Shakur Stevenson. For Rosales, Tyler weighed 133 1/2lbs, so he’ll have to shift some weight from his 5ft 9in frame for the Frampton match.
The Belfastman is aware of the problems posed by McCreary’s physical advantages. Frampton said: “He’s got a good jab and he’s tall, so it might be difficult to get past it. But the tactics we want to apply in this fight will work well. It might take me a few rounds to get used to his height but once I do I’ll be fine.”
Frampton’s optimism appears justified. It may take him a few rounds to find his timing and range, but after that Carl should take control for a clear points victory as he gets his career back on track.
While the Frampton fight represents the chief interest for British and Irish fans, there are two significant bouts billed above it.
Exciting Oscar Valdez, 26-0 (20), has relinquished his WBO featherweight title to make his super-feather bow with a 10-rounder against fellow Mexican Andres Gutierrez, 38-2-1 (25).
A couple of years ago a cut chin suffered when slipping in the shower forced Gutierrez out of a fight against Frampton the next day. Valdez can win on points. And a super-welterweight 12-rounder sees New York-based Dominican Republic puncher Carlos Adames, 18-0 (14), favoured to overcome Brazil’s 30-1 (22) Patrick Teixeira.
The Verdict A victory for Frampton will likely lead to a super-featherweight world title shot.