It’s a massive night in store for Carl Frampton this Saturday evening as the Belfast boy returns home for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years.
The 30-year-old takes on Andres Gutierrez in what would have been a WBC world featherweight title eliminator, but Frampton has missed the weight by 1lbs, and that now voids the bout.
This homecoming is off the back of his previous fight, the first professional loss of his career back in Januray.
He was soundly beaten on points by Leo Santa Cruz that night, taken aback by the Mexican fighting on the back-foot, using his height and reach advantage to counter with an efficient jab.
He’ll face a similar yet different sort of Mexican here. Gutierrez is the bigger man with a greater reach, but whereas Santa Cruz had the ability to utilise those strengths, we don’t think his younger compartriot is at that level, yet.
This will be the 24-year-old’s first time properly stepping up into the big leagues. ‘The Jaguar’ has only fought outside of his home country just twice. Going to Belfast to fight a world-class fighter like Frampton is a big ask.
‘The Jackal’ is a technically brilliant purveyor of the sweet science and although he may not have stark knockout power, generally always has the ability to outbox his opponents – even when put down early in fights.
With bigger bouts ahead, Frampton simply has to win this one. Potential superfights with Gary Russell Jr. and Lee Selby await, while a trilogy with Santa Cruz may yet come to pass.
While it won’t be straightforward for the Northern Irishman, he should be much too good for Gutierrez here.
Frampton is obviously unbackable at 1/25, and even 4/7 for the fight to go the distance is rather short. If he can put the pressure on early, and feed into the crowd enthusiasm, a KO, TKO or Disqualification at 13/8 might be a goer.
We also like him winning in Rounds 10-12 at 7/1, going on the idea the younger opponent may eventually wilt in the later rounds.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing