Big Fight Preview: Josh Warrington vs Carl Frampton
On his last appearance in Manchester the slow start of Scott Quigg arguably gifted Carl Frampton the win in their big unification fight in 2016. Unfortunately for Frampton, Josh Warrington will not afford him that luxury tonight in their battle for the IBF featherweight title.
Warrington (27-0) in winning the title from the supremely talented and heavily favoured Lee Selby, never gave Selby the space to breathe let along the room to do his best work, and Frampton (26-1) will surely know that whatever the result he will be in for a highly uncomfortable evening in the Manchester Arena.
Selby was bullied out of the fight, and while the Welsh Mayweather did incredibly well to stay in the fight, Warrington was a thoroughly deserved winner.
Despite the accusations that Selby was dead at the weight, Warrington defied the odds and his critics and proved he is legit at the highest level.
Like Selby’s countryman Steve Robinson, who in another era never got the credit or respect he deserved, despite turning back a talented array of challengers, Warrington might suffer a similar fate.
But a win over Frampton will go a long way to silence even the harshest of Warrington’s critics. But as with Selby, there are also doubts about Frampton, is he on the slide and is this another instance of perfect timing, catching a great champion at the right time.
Frampton in that career-defining fight with Leo Santa Cruz was superb, he beat a formidable fighter still at the peak of his powers. But have we seen a steady decline since then, although there are signs in his last two fights that Frampton is regaining some of his best form but Warrington will give us the answers to just what Frampton has left.
Frampton is by far the fighter with the greater pedigree, but boxing leaves little room for nostalgia. When your time at the top is over it lets you know in the most brutal and savage way.
Warrington is coming into his prime and he might just be a stylistically nightmare for Frampton. His constant educated pressure could well be too much for Frampton. It might well be decided in what’s left in the gas tank, Frampton has been known to fade late, if he does against Warrington he probably loses.
But Frampton is a master of controlling the centre of the ring, and unlike Selby, he has power that has to be respected. I think Frampton will look to use that power and try to stamp his authority on the fight in the opening exchanges, to try and hurt his man and plant that seed of doubt in Warrington’s constant forward march.
I certainly don’t rule out another Warrington upset win but I just think Frampton has enough left to once again become a world champion.
The fight will go long and will be tight but despite being tempted to pick Warrington I just think Frampton will emerge victorious on points in a tough gruelling contest.