The Friday Faceup

Cover courtesy of The Ring magazine.

Can ‘The Jackal’ make one last bite ?

Saturday night (3rd April) in the grand setting of Caesars Palace Bluewaters in Dubai, UAE and screened live in the UK on Channel 5 Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton attempts to make boxing history. He will meet ex-US Marine Jamel Herring for the American’s WBO world super-featherweight (130lb/9st 4lbs) crown.

So what, you might say. Well, this is it.. Frampton will aim to win a world title in a third weight class having won titles in the 122lb (8st 10lbs) and 126lb (9st) divisions. No fighter from the island of Ireland has done this in boxing history and very few from the British Isles – Croydon’s Duke McKenzie, Scotland’s Ricky Burns and Cornishman Bob Fitzsimmons over 100 years ago being the exceptions. This would be an outstanding achievement for the 34 year old Frampton and bookend a magnificent career.

The Belfastman boasts a 28-2 (16 KO’s) record which has seen him scale the heights of the sport. After a stellar 2016 in which he unified world titles at super-bantamweight and won the featherweight title in a New York dust up with Leo Santa-Cruz he was awarded The Ring magazine fighter of the year – the recognised highest accolade in the sport.

He was later to narrowly lose his title in a rematch with Santa Cruz and lose a domestic clash with former IBF world champion Josh Warrington. These are the sole defeats on his record having fought at the top table for close to a decade. A win tomorrow for Frampton would be exceptional but well within his capabilities.

Herring brings a 22-2 (10 KO’s) record into the fight having made two successful defences of a title won in May 2019. He also brings the experience of combat in several real warzones around the world having served as a US Marine.

The fight will pitch the right hand leading southpaw Herring with the orthodox Frampton, so; when fighting in close they will be mirror images in stance. However, most evident will be the height differential, the American at 5ft 10in is a good 5 inches taller than the Ulsterman. How Herring makes 130lbs is a mystery and his lankyness will immediately be apparent.

Frampton, as explained has moved through the divisions and this will be his first real test in the higher weight class. That may be telling but Carl has the elite experience that Herring lacks. True, he was the USA boxing team captain in the London 2012 Olympics but Frampton has fought in better company as a pro.

Both fighters have been inevitably delayed by COVID-19 with Herring in particular testing positive on two occasions but now fully recovered. Frampton has not been so unlucky but ring rust may be a factor for both. The champion last fought in September 2020 and the challenger in August. The period since has been marking time for both after a number of cancellations and venue changes.

Stylistically, Herring is known to work off his jab with lateral movement so will look to win the fight on the outside making rare sorties to engage when the opportunities arise. Frampton has trained as diligently as ever and will look to force the pace and bang away at the long torso of the champion. Carl, for all his aggressiveness is an excellent technical fighter and is unlikely to be outboxed by the American, so if he can get in close repetitively can get success on the inside.

With the champion at 35 years of age the challenger is 16 months younger but Frampton has been in more career ageing fights, the two wars with Santa-Cruz being good examples. Both went the distance with a lot of damage received on both sides. That should be the leveller in terms of comparative ring age and ability to cope in the championship rounds (11 & 12) should the fight go the distance.

In what promises to be an excellent contest between two elite operators, if forced to pick a winner The Undisputed considers the superior ring craft, experience and sheer desire of Frampton to prevail on a split points decision. Should Carl be successful he will join the pantheons of great Irish boxers and may even be considered the greatest. History beckons for The Jackal.

Stop press: Both fighters tipped the scales within the limit earlier today – Herring 129.4 lbs and Frampton 129.9 lbs. We have a fight.

Transmission on Channel 5 tomorrow starts at 22:00 BST. It is also on ESPN+ in the US.

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