Carl Frampton is a man of granite, says Shane McGuigan
Coach Shane McGuigan has a clear warning for the rest of the super-bantamweights; Carl Frampton is just getting better and better, writes David Kelly.
McGuigan has been honing the Jackal's skills for some time now, leading him to European and World title success and has been in El Paso, Texas for the last 10 days with Frampton as they count down to the Belfast man's second defence of the IBF super-bantamweight title this Saturday night against Alejandro Gonzalez jr.
Frampton has continued to raise his game with every fight, stopping mandatory challenger Chris Avalos in the fifth round with a ruthless display of power punching at the Odyssey Arena.
McGuigan, son of Frampton's manager Barry, was naturally delighted with the victory but feels there is still much more to come from the Jackal as he looks ahead to possible future money-spinning fights with the likes of Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz and WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.
"I think the Avalos fight is as good as I have seen Carl. Avalos had never been stopped, he just had two losses - one was controversial, the other could have gone either way. He was in good form coming off some good knockout wins but his shots were just bouncing off Carl," said McGuigan.
"He's an absolute animal at super-bantamweight, he's a freak of nature. People like Scott Quigg don't quite get that message, they just don't understand what he is like. He's made of steel and granite, the punches just go straight off his head and he's developing into a very confident champion.
"He was always a confident fighter but there's a different sense about him now, he's believing in himself as a world champion. He has that little bit of extra confidence now that he is a champion and he's going to be here for a long time.
"I thought that Avalos was going to last six to seven rounds. The fact he got him out of there in five rounds and the way he did it was very impressive. I asked in between rounds is he punching hard? And he said 'no'.
"We had asked top coach Freddie Roach about Avalos and he had said that he can punch. But it was such a one-sided demolition... Carl can take all these guys out, it's just a matter of time."
Clearly Frampton is entering a period of time that could well define his career and as he moves into the American market this Saturday night, McGuigan is confident that he will make an early impression against Gonzalez jr.
For the 22-year-old Mexican, this is the chance of a lifetime and of course he will be backed by vociferous support in the Don Haskins Centre.
McGuigan added: "It says in the stats that Gonzalez is 5ft 7in but he's more like 5ft 8in or 9in, he has long arms and likes to push the action when he can but we also know that he likes to box off the back foot so we will be ready for whatever he brings to the ring.
"In this camp Carl has sparred some good counter-punchers as well as bigger guys who he has had to work very hard with up close.
"Carl can go back but also press the action and working with the bigger guys he has done really well and his weight has been great in this camp.
"In the last camp his weight was staggering but this time it came down very quickly and his performance is up.
"It's very impressive to watch him in with lightweights and welterweights and working so well.
"Since the second Kiko Martinez fight when he won the world title at Titanic, there has been a lot of improvement behind closed doors.
"The amount he can lift has gone up - he can do a full squat of 120kg right down to the ground. For a guy that is around 60kg or less that is phenomenal, that's double his weight and more back."
McGuigan and Frampton have clearly developed not only an ideal coach-fighter relationship but also a close friendship, which is paying rich dividends.
"The connection I have with Carl is amazing, we don't even have to speak for both of us to know what he has to do in the ring," added McGuigan.
"My style of coaching and his natural ability just seems to gel, he always listens to me and trusts me and it seems to work well."