Talking a good fight - Frampton v Avalos preview
Read the thoughts of our In-Play boxing expert Richard Palmer
This weekend sees the return of live boxing to Terrestrial TV with ITV providing live coverage of Carl Frampton's first defence of his recently acquired world title, at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast. A big boost to the sport and a big move from ITV with it being the first live fight they have covered in some 8 years. It's likely they are hoping to take advantage of an upsurge in Boxing viewing figures and attendances.
"I am not impressed at all with Carl Frampton" was the retort from Chris Avalos. He was being interviewed on an American boxing Channel prior to his upcoming fight with the rising Northern Irish boxing star and current holder of the IBF Strap at super bantamweight. This was another example of the brash and self confident Californian; we had all witnessed a heated press conference not too long before, with Avalos repeatedly telling the Brit' star he was going to knock him out, of course Frampton promised he would do the same to him. Avalos has frequently shown disrespect to Frampton, undermining him at every opportunity; he has certainly been talking a good fight! And it's hard not to be taken in by his words; if he wasn't fighting a home-grown boxer then you could get to like him.
A quick look at the fight record of Chris Avalos shows he is unbeaten since December 2011; some six victories have been notched onto his post in the past three years (four TKOs and two unanimous PTS). To all intents and purposes though, December 2011 is the key to predicting the outcome of this Saturday's fight.
2 December 2011 saw the then 22 year old Avalos, with only a single split decision defeat in his first 20 fights, take on the then unbeaten Jhonatan Romero of Colombia. The fight promised much for Avalos, even more when Romero was officially knocked down at the end of round one. (Very dubious count in my and many others' eyes) Maybe the self titled 'Hitman' was going to take out Romero the same way 15 of his previous opponents had been? That was as good as it got though for the Californian. An increasingly confident Romero fought an intellectual 'at arm's length' fight, picking off Avalos easily the further the fight went, gaining a split decision victory in the Californian's own backyard, I saw it as the correct decision, even if the partisan home crowd disagreed!
The fight above, more than any other, highlights what Avalos will bring to the 'intimidating Belfast cauldron' come Saturday. Frampton will not have to look for Avalos, he is in the main a come forward fighter, who likes to unload a regular barrage of punches, he appears to have a good chin (never being stopped), but he can be outpointed by someone with class, and Frampton certainly fits that bill ... by the bucket load!!
Frampton is to date flawless, his unbeaten record has never been in danger and his two victories over Kiko Martinez, the second to win the IBF title, were complete schooling sessions, against a very hard man! The same man who had battered the world title off none other than Jhonathan Romero! Yes the same fighter who had three years earlier outboxed Avalos. Romero had remained unbeaten after Avalos and was very highly thought of. He was expected to beat Martinez, but couldn't survive the Spaniard's relentless onslaughts and was stopped! If Avalos could not wear down Romero, then his chances of getting to Frampton on all known form look slim indeed.
Frampton dealt with Martinez with ease, the first fight he knocked Kiko out in the 9th round and the second was a unanimous landslide, where Frampton had put Martinez down before winning virtually every round on the judges' scorecards. A close study of Avalos shows that every time he takes on fighters of a higher level there are no knockouts just decisions on points, my suspicion is he isn't the puncher he is reputed to be and his record has been bloated with some poor opponents who aren't creditable stock, and make him look more of heavy puncher than he probably is.
Frampton or 'The Jackal' as he is now fondly recognised, has been managed superbly by ex world champ Barry McGuigan, and it's safe to say there are some really big fights waiting after this, for his rising star, a possible 'domestic super fight' with Scott Quigg, being just one of them.
Rest assured this current fight is not meant to be a 'losing one' and will have been chosen because McGuigan knows they can win. Frampton has reputedly been hammering some seriously talented champion boxers in sparring. He improves every time he fights and his power has increased with every passing opponent, expect an easy victory, I favour a middle round stoppage say rounds 4 to 8 (double figure prices all) but if you fancy the likeable Californian to go the distance then 7/4 for a Frampton win on points looks fair enough.