A football World Cup was snatched from the grasp of the Northern Irish people, but they will not be denied world class boxing!
Master boxer Carl Frampton is planning to use Horacio Garcia as a stepping stone to more titles and Jamie Conlan gets his first shot at glory against Filipino champ Jerwin Ancajas.
While the undercard features tear-ups for two-time Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes in his fifth contest and, in a separate bout, two-weight wonder Zolani Tete.
Frampton is finally back after the first defeat in his career and he’s re-sharpening his tools against rock-hard Mexican Garcia. Belfast’s finest has fought away from home in his last four contests, but he returns to headline the SSE Arena this weekend.
Stereotypes are cheap, however it’s impossible to ignore that the man from Guadalajara is aggressive, tough and is probably a big fan of tacos and tequila. He has lost three times but has never been stopped, and two of those defeats were against top class opposition.
The only other thing you need to know about Garcia is that his best mate is Saul Alvarez, and the flame haired pound-for-pound superstar will be in attendance on Saturday night.
Carl Frampton returns! ?
The Jackal makes his BT Sport debut this Saturday…
— BT Sport Boxing ? (@BTSportBoxing) November 13, 2017
For a true comparison of the levels which Frampton and Garcia have operated at consider that in 2014 ‘The Jackal’ cruised to his first world title, while ‘Violento’ was pummelling a guy with a 0-9 record.
This 10-rounder has been arranged for Frampton to get used to his new coaching set-up and get a solid win. In previous tune-ups the Ulsterman hasn’t always shone and I think that the best KO bet is Frampton in rounds 9-10 at 9/2.
Featherweight is still a relatively new division for Frampton and he hasn’t confirmed his punch power at the heavier weight yet. Backing the two-time world champ to win by decision is better than evens and well worth a punt.
Bet of the bout: Frampton on points at 7/4.
Their names might not be the biggest, but the bout between Ancajas and Conlan is set to go off with the biggest bang. Both men are fit, determined and love a tear-up, and there is the super flyweight belt up for grabs to boot.
As a professional Conlan has built a reputation for being in fan-friendly fights. He’s unbeaten with 11 wins by KO, however he’s been knocked down in three bouts, and in two of those Conlan was dropped twice!
That record is the reason Paddy makes the man from West Belfast a 9/2 long shot. Ancajas is the younger, yet more experienced boxer and he’s iced 13 of his last 14 adversaries.
Conlan, nicknamed ‘The Mexican’, will probably come to the ring wearing a sombrero but I just can’t see him leaving with the belt.
‘Pretty Boy’ Ancajas just has too much and you’d expect he’ll break down the local lad by the middle rounds.
Bet of the bout: Ancajas in rounds 5-8 at 9/5.
Barnes was best man for Frampton’s wedding, but this Saturday is the first time the flyweight will support his mate on a professional boxing bill. The skill and speed are there, however Barnes still needs to adapt his game to the generate the power to be a top prize fighter.
Late notice opponent Eliecer Quezada is your classic Latino gym-rat, but flying halfway around the world and making weight in 48hrs is a big ask. Barnes has 10 rounds to stop his lanky opponent and I think he can do it.
Bantamweight world champion Tete is facing fellow South African Siboniso Gonya but he doesn’t just want the win, he wants to set up a mega-fight with fellow titleholder Ryan Burnett. Tete is the real deal and he can backed at Evens to win in rounds 7-12.