Junior featherweight sensation Carl Frampton easily swept aside Mexican campaigner Hugo Cazares with a second round knockout in Belfast on Friday and kicked open the door to a lucrative world title shot later this year.
Frampton, THE RING's No. 1-rated junior featherweight, behind the magazine's champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, tagged Cazares with a lead left hook in Round 2, and the 36-year-old southpaw was robbed of his equilibrium. As the count was administered the visitor appeared clear eyed, although he appeared to mistime the count, which resulted in a knockout loss.
“It was a great performance” said Frampton, when interviewed by BoxNation. “It was a one-punch knockout over a guy who hadn’t been stopped since 1999. He can complain all he likes, that he mistimed the count, but he didn’t want to get up.”
The signs were ominous for Cazares (121.25 pounds) in the first when big single shots had an immediate effect while the sound of the opening bell still hung in the air. He was noticeably smaller than Frampton and circumvented the ring exaggeratedly as the Belfast man stayed in hot pursuit.
The Mexican settled half way through the session to land the odd counter, but there was only ever going to be one winner.
Frampton, who is 27 years old, seems to have been around the top level forever, but tonight was only his 18th straight victory (13 inside). He has been guided perfectly by manager, and former WBA featherweight titlist, Barry McGuigan, whose son Shane puts the Belfast man through his paces at the family run gym.
With the proper nurturing Frampton has become a multifaceted operator, who has shown real versatility in his most recent fights. The former Commonwealth and European champion can box extremely well on the outside, setting up his shots behind an educated left hand, however his ability to cause havoc at midrange seems to come naturally.
“We hope that we can get the WBC champion, Leo Santa Cruz, in Belfast,” said Barry McGuigan. “This is the best crowd in the world and I’ve said that a dozen times. There would be a lot of negotiations before we can get the fight over here, but Carl is willing to travel to the States to make this fight happen.”
If the bout between Frampton, who weighed in tonight at 121.5 pounds, and THE RING's No. 2-rated junior featherweight is up next then fans can look forward to what is sure to be a thunderous collision, no matter where it’s held.
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing