Frampton's El Paso bout
US boxing powerbroker backing Frampton's grit
Tonight, Carl Frampton, Ireland's most exciting export since Lady Gaga declared Jameson whiskey "her long-time boyfriend", has his first fight in America.
The undefeated IBF World super bantamweight champion meets Mexican challenger Alejandro Gonzalez Jr (25-1-2, 15 KOs) in El Paso. It's a measure of Frampton's impressive drawing power that the fight will be screened live on ITV and UTV Ireland. In America, the fight's on the free-to-air CBS network.
From the Texas border town, Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan says, "He can really make it big in America." With astute boxing powerbroker Al Haymon in his corner, McGuigan knows that an impressive performance tonight will fast-track Frampton into the sport's major league but warns, "It's going to be a tough hard fight."
Frampton (20-0, 14 KOs) is on a roll. When negotiations on a fight with WBA champion Scott Quigg became difficult, McGuigan agreed a deal with Haymon, who's mapped an American campaign for Frampton.
Although a fight with Quigg could yet happen, a win for Frampton tonight could lead to a possible headline show in New York on St Patrick's Day. McGuigan wants to keep the Jackal's home supporters satisfied so we can expect a fight in Belfast or England later this year.
Meanwhile, this evening Quigg fights Kiko Martinez, the Spanish fighter who lost his European title and later the IBF World title to Frampton.
"Frampton is better than Quigg," he says.
"I think Carl is better than Guillermo Rigondeaux (WBO champion) and Leo Santa Cruz (WBC champ). Maybe if I beat Quigg a third fight with Frampton is on the cards.
"I'm always ready to fight against Frampton. I believe I'll beat Quigg. The belt is my goal."