Howdy folks. Today I’d like to discuss another contender who is nearing the end of his boxing journey.
Carl “The Jackal” Frampton 26-2 (15 KOs)
Carl Frampton is an excellent boxer who has had a tremendous career thus far. Frampton is a solid boxer-puncher who isn’t necessarily elite at any one particular thing, but he is very good at many different things. Carl has a good, stiff jab, with nice combinations that are mixed up well. That includes body work as well. He also moves around the ring efficiently, with a decent defense to go with it. He is typically a counter-puncher but doesn’t mind getting down and dirty in the trenches, like he did against Santa Cruz in their first match.
“The Jackal” has been in the ring with many formidable foes, including men like Steve Molitor, Kiko Martinez twice, Chris Avalos, Scott Quigg, Nonito Donaire, Josh Warrington and Leo Santa Cruz twice. Pretty solid competition, if you ask me. I always enjoy watching the Irishman get into the ring and hope his career continues a little longer to at least get a couple more real good names on that resume. The only issue I have ever had with him is inconsistency. For some reason he tends to be a little hot and cold too often, and to hear him talk as if he is ready for retirement, then he comes back, then repeats. I’m not saying we all don’t have our bad days, or moments, but it’s my only complaint.
Frampton has spent the majority of his career at 122, until about three years ago when he stepped up to 126 to fight Leo Santa Cruz. That was a great scrap, as was the second one, and with that being said, that is exactly where I would start for the matchup list.
#1 Matchup: Leo Santa Cruz 36-1-1 (19 KOs)
If any of you happened to catch a glimpse of the first two meetings between these two, you would all know exactly why I want to see this again as a fan and why I would go after this as a matchmaker or promoter. They were exciting bouts that exceeded expectations and had significant implications at that time and have nearly the same if they did it a third time. There’s not a whole lot I would say needs to be different, strategically for either guy. This would be perfect in New York or Las Vegas again.
#2 Matchup: Gary Russell Jr. 30-1 (18 KOs)
This is a great matchup for the ages. Both men are elite level fighters in the featherweight division. Gary Russell is currently the WBC titlist and Frampton is a top-5 featherweight. Frampton is only a year older in age than Russell, which means there’s not a dramatic difference in prime years, however Frampton does have a little more wear on his body, due to the better-quality opposition thus far. Gary Russell has the faster hands of the two, but Frampton is no slow poke himself.
This is a very intriguing chess match, as Russell is a boxer-mover, so is Frampton naturally, but Carl can make a fight of it and put a little pressure on Gary while still being aware enough to be sort of “counter aggressive”. He is a very experienced fighter who knows his way around the ring and has seen a wide variety of styles, which is to Frampton’s benefit. Russell is used to most guys kind of coming at him with not as much “maneuverability”. This match would be perfect in New York or Boston.
#3 Matchup: Oscar Valdez 26-0 (20 KOs)
Oscar Valdez is a decent boxer with good power. He still has some proving to do and this would be that kind of opportunity. Frampton is clearly the more experienced of the two and the more well-rounded of them. It’s still always hard for me to understand rankings and how a guy like Valdez is rated higher than a man of Frampton’s stature, but what do I know? Just because he holds a useless title? Valdez has fought minimal names of note and needs to prove more why he is considered one of the top dogs. His main victory was over Scott Quigg, which is credible, but there needs to be more.
In order for Oscar Valdez to win this match, he would need to stop Frampton. Which is certainly a possibility, given Oscar’s power and Carl’s mindset lately. Hopefully we can get this put together soon, so we can see if the crafty veteran can overcome the youth of Valdez. This would go great in Las Vegas, California, or New York.
#4 Matchup: Guillermo Rigondeaux 19-1 (13 KOs)
The Jackals collide in a highly-skilled tactical showdown. Rigondeaux is past his best days, but due to his premium skill-set, he has enough in the tank to make for a risky payday for many fighters out there and that includes Carl Frampton. Which has been the case for Rigo for his entire career. Rigondeaux is a boxer-puncher who can make you pay for any mistake. I think this would be a great battle in the middle of the ring, with both men trying to outsmart the other and not giving much ground to the other. I’m just not sure if Rigo still has enough in the tank to keep pace with a Carl Frampton though. Somehow Guillermo would need to slow the pace and make Frampton second guess himself for coming in and letting loose with more than one or two punches at a time. It’s a benefit for the Cuban Jackal if it stays at a distance and at a slower pace; it’s a benefit for the Irish Jackal if he can keep letting the combinations go and keep the physical and mental pressure on.
This is a career defining type match, as both have had different career paths. Frampton has not been avoided as much as Rigondeaux, so I think Guillermo has more to prove. That’s what makes it interesting. New York, Boston or the U.K. would work just fine for this match.
#5 Matchup: Daniel Roman 27-2-1 (10 KOs)
There are many matchups that could be considered here and it all kind of depends on how things play out in the featherweight division. It seems as if Oscar Valdez and Leo Santa Cruz may be moving up to 130. I’m not sure if Gary Russell will follow suit, but if so, that would vacate nearly every title in the division and I personally don’t mind, as long as some of them get matched up in that division, the way they should have at 126. This would make more sense as a match if fighters start moving up, which would also be the case for Danny Roman.
He is currently a titleholder at 122 and it would be an easy transition for any of them to move up to 126; It’s only 4 pounds. I would be interested in a possible Jamie McDonnell match here, considering style and place of interest (Ireland or England). I don’t know if it’s me though, but Frampton seems to give too much respect to other local fighters. Maybe he’s a little biased or something (not saying that it’s a problem) just making a statement. That’s kind of how a lot of those British guys are, especially fans. That’s what makes them some of the best fans though (pride). Frampton fought like a madman when he duked it out with Leo Santa Cruz and I think it might be very similar against Roman, which could get fun. High pace, high quality action. Frampton would need to counter Roman aggressively and Danny would need to keep the pressure on Frampton to wear him down. This would be a great scrap and would suit nicely in California, Las Vegas, New York, or the U.K.