by Cliff Rold
Sometimes it’s more fun to be wrong.
Going into the fight, it was perceived here Carl Frampton was just a little level better than Josh Warrington. That thinking was dispelled early as Warrington let loose streams of leather. Then one had to wonder if he could sustain as Frampton started to get into the fight.
Warrington could, and then some.
The younger man from Leeds made his first defense of the IBF featherweight title and made himself a big player in a talented division. When he had to, Warrington boxed well from the outside and paced himself well. The biggest impressions were made inside as Warrington whipped combinations to the head and body.
Everything didn’t land. It didn’t have to. Warrington presented Frampton a challenge difficult to defend. When the other guy misses a couple, usually, they reset. Warrington keeps coming until he finds a home for his fists.
When Frampton did land, he took the shots well and being hit didn’t discourage him. A volume puncher with quick hands, stamina, and a chin? That’s an easy sell to see against anyone at featherweight.
Let’s get into it.
The Future for Warrington: In the States the bout was televised on ESPN+ and already there is scuttlebutt about a unification showdown with WBO titlist Oscar Valdez. If that’s the direction things are going, is there anyone who wouldn’t be interested? Valdez is the bigger puncher but can he keep up with Warrington? That’s the kind of question sometimes answered in a classic. Warrington would be just as interesting against Leo Santa Cruz or Gary Russell Jr. though the paths to those fights might be tougher as they can do business together in the PBC. If Valdez doesn’t happen right away, Warrington could also face leading IBF contender Kid Galahad in a Yorkshire showdown.
The Future for Frampton: At times Frampton seemed overwhelmed early on Saturday but he dug deep, kept his cool, and kept the fight competitive. It was only his second defeat but, at 31, one has to wonder if this is the point where age starts to catch up to Frampton. He seemed a split second off in much of the fight this weekend and those split seconds matter against younger men. Frampton still has plenty of fights he can make. A third fight with Santa Cruz after a rehab assignment would still sell. His name still matters. Regardless, after this weekend and all the punches he took, it’s fair to keep an eye going forward on whether this might have been the point where Frampton started the journey to the other side of the hill.
The announcers seemed to be there for the Charlo show on Saturday and it played out as part of the commentary. While this scribe had him narrowly ahead, Jermell Charlo’s loss to Tony Harrison was a close fight. Charlo threw a lot more; he only landed a little more and there were a lot of close rounds. In the Jermall Charlo win over Matt Korobov, they seemed to be looking for Charlo to take over rather than seeing what was, all night, just a well matched fight…That said, it speaks to how well the underdogs did, both of whom fought some of the best they ever have…Both Charlo’s remain a threat to anyone at Jr. middleweight or middleweight…It seemed we were heading towards a debate about referee decisions on low blows and then Dillian Whyte ended things against Derek Chisora in another exciting heavyweight battle. Whyte might not be everyone’s choice to challenge Anthony Joshua but he’s earned a title shot in the ring by fighting tough outs if Joshua versus a Fury or Wilder isn’t happening next (and it’s not)…Charlie Edwards boxed his butt off against Cristofer Rosales. Good to see a fighter come of age and props to Rosales for staying tough on the road all year.
Rold Picks 2018: 61-24 (Including Alvarez-Fielding, Whyte-Chisora, Edwards-Rosales, Charlo-Korobov, Harrison-Charlo)
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]