Former World champion Ricky Hatton is convinced Carl Frampton will ambush Hugo Cazares at the Odyssey Arena on Friday night and progress towards a World title clash.
Hatton – a two-time World champ – was in Victoria Square yesterday with his young student Ryan Burnett for a public workout in front of a large crowd.
Burnett will also appear on the Odyssey bill as Frampton faces Mexican Cazares in a Final Eliminator for the WBC World title.
And ‘The Hitman’ believes Frampton has the tools in his armoury to take out Cazares, admitting he has been impressed with what he has seen from the Tigers Bay Super-bantamweight.
“He has ticked all the boxes so far. I was over for his last fight at the Odyssey and it is not about who he boxed that night, but it was the way in which he dealt with the guy that impressed me.
“He had another gear to go into and the kid he fought the last time was at a high level and he breezed through it.
“That showed me that he has that extra bit to jump to world title stage,” he added.
And Hatton says two-time World champion Cazares will present Frampton with another problem to solve.
“Friday night is against a former World champion so it is a bigger test and he has to be on the ball or the World title dream goes out the window.
“He has got to be on the money and stay focused and I am sure he will.
“I think he will look sensational again on Friday night and then go on to the Leo Santa Cruz fight and that is a fight I believe he can win as well.”
If Frampton does see off Cazares on Friday night, a clash with WBC king Santa Cruz is in the pipeline, and Hatton says having the fight in Belfast would be a huge advantage for Frampton.
“To be honest with you, when I boxed Kostya Tszyu in Manchester, it was like having a substitute on the bench to bring on.
“They cannot come into the ring but they are the next best thing. When things get hard that roar can drive you on.
“It gives you an edge, and if they get Santa Cruz over here is would give Carl a slight advantage.
“It would be better for Carl to have the fight here as he would be the hometown fighter.
“I loved fighting in Manchester and even though the crowd are not in the ring with you, their support counts for an awful lot,” he added.
Many believe that Santa Cruz has the firepower and workrate to derail the Frampton bandwagon but Hatton – who won 45 of his 48 fights – says the Belfast boy has the ability to take out the Mexican.
“I see it as a 50/50 fight against Santa Cruz but Carl has been strolling through all his other fights.
“He has been breezing through the fights but he will now be making that small jump to World class and showed that he is well capable of making that jump,” added Hatton.