Frampton hopes to follow in McGuigan’s footsteps in New York

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

After the fevered excitement of Euro 2016 and the Green and White Army’s unforgettable adventures in France, it’s the turn of another Northern Ireland sporting superstar, Carl Frampton, to take centre stage this weekend.

The 29-year-old boxer from Tigers Bay in north Belfast is ready for what has been billed as the biggest fight of his career so far in the early hours of tomorrow morning in New York.

As Frampton prepares to face the highly-rated Mexican Leo Santa Cruz in New Jersey, he is following in the footsteps of his mentor, and another Ulster sporting legend, Barry McGuigan.

It was way back in 1985 that McGuigan won the most famous of his fights by beating Eusebio Pedroza to lift the WBA featherweight crown at Loftus Road football ground in London.

Now Frampton is chasing that very same title, and in the process he has had to give up his WBA and IBF super-bantamweight titles.

This definitely appears to be Frampton’s trickiest assignment to date. Going up in weight can be fraught with danger for any boxer and Santa Cruz is an accomplished three-weight champion with a distinct height advantage.

By heading across the Atlantic, Frampton is also giving up a precious home advantage. If the fight was being staged in his Belfast stronghold, the smart money would probably be on the ‘Jackal’ to emerge victorious.

But fighting in another environment can be fraught with danger, as McGuigan himself knows only too well. It was in a sweltering Las Vegas in 1986 that the ‘Clonis Cyclone’ lost to Steve Cruz and he was never the same fighter again.

But enough of the negativity. Frampton may be underdog but he won’t be relinquishing his unbeaten record lightly. Thousands of television sets here will be switched on around 4am tomorrow hoping to watch another chapter in a famous summer of Ulster sporting achievements.