(Photo credit: Jason Cairnduff)
If Barry McGuigan has a hint of Galileo about him this morning, then he can be forgiven. For, while it is unwise to put untiring faith behind anyone, anything in the hurt business, it is especially chancy to put such allegiance on record. In Carl Frampton, though, McGuigan has a boxer worth staking his name on. But perhaps it is time to start talking about the junior featherweight contender as a separate entity to his more storied guide.
In his toughest fight to date and against a febrile, power punching opponent that refused to let him breathe, like a child with a scabby knee, Frampton looked as neat as a new pin Saturday. Naysayers may sniff about him being hit flush on occasion, or the fact he was made to toil with his back to the strands for long periods throughout this nine-round, stardust-laden triumph, but when a man marauds after another in a confined space whirling a pair of block splitters about the place, the pursuee would need to be a hybrid version of Pernell Whitaker and Steven Seagal to exit unruffled.
Kiko Martinez, Alicante, Spain, 121, put in a committed shift, of which there was much to commend. He pressed Frampton like a man possessed, hunting, harrying and cutting down the canvas as forcefully as he could have hoped. Unfortunately for him, Frampton, Belfast, NI, 121 ½, doesn’t need much room to work in. In the same manner a world class centre forward can employ minimal retraction of their boot in order to fire off a goal bound thunderbolt, Frampton can knock a man bandy without winding back his elbows.
After an emulous opening third, the home fighter ricocheted short, thudding punches off Martinez’s shaven skull in rounds 5 and 7 that only served to stir up the European champion into coming out smoking in the 8th. After giving up his only round aside from the 6th, Frampton snuffed him out like IFESA in round 9. As Martinez, sporting damage under his left eye, attempted to press the challenger into a corner, he launched an arcing right hand. Frampton, expertly aware, skipped back a half-step, moved an inch to his side and parried with a short, straight counter right that hit with deadening force. Martinez fell mid-siesta onto his back. There, he dragged himself to his knees before losing his equilibrium and while, somehow, he managed to haul himself to his feet, his balance betrayed him and he tottered backwards into his corner as referee Marcus McDonnell enveloped him against the ropes. Time came at 2:46.
Frampton, 16-0 (11), answered every question that had been floated about him beforehand. He held firm under pressure, fielded head-swiveling punches from a noted banger and, after a tough and torrid struggle, punctuated the contest with a single shot — all the hallmarks of a potential world beater. The shark pool he inhabits at 122 lbs. is enough to make a man seek out dry land but in this form, Frampton is ready to make a splash. Martinez returns home 27-4 (19).
British featherweight king Lee Selby dominated Martin Lindsay in the chief supporting bout to take a unanimous decision via scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 118-109. Selby, Barry, Wales, 15-1 (5), is an exciting talent, an anarchist with a cruel streak about him. For, after Lindsay had shown real gallantry to keep plugging away after all hope had long since vanished, Selby marred another eye-opening display with a bout of unnecessary hot-dogging that was utterly gauche and borderline deranged.
Lindsay, Belfast, NI, 20-2 (7), wearing powder blue shorts, began well as Selby struggled to locate his timing. Holding centre ring, the 30-year-old former champion managed to lead off with an effective left hook almost continuously, however, he lacked sufficient pop to yank the rug from beneath Selby.
The champion mightn’t look an awful lot, yet he hits deceptively hard, and he almost crippled Lindsay in the 2nd round with a concerted rib attack. Selby produces wicked twist and torque as he whips in blows, and Lindsay, grimacing in pain, had no other option but to empty his clip in retaliation. Selby almost finished his man off in the 10th, and would surely have done so in the penultimate session had he not felt the need to showboat, perhaps a cruel trait picked up on his recent busman’s holiday to the Mayweather gym in Las Vegas. Lindsay managed to hang tough until the bitter end and can take great credit for the pluck he exhibited in doing so. Both men weight 125 ¼.
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