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Carl Frampton is just like another son to me, says legend Barry McGuigan

Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg: IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles. Manchester Arena, 27 February, 10,45pm.

By David Kelly

Published 27/02/2016

Following in footsteps: Carl Frampton and Barry McGuigan
Following in footsteps: Carl Frampton and Barry McGuigan
The Jackal signs up with the Clones Cyclone back in 2009

It would seem to be the encrypted code of the boxing business that relationships never last. The ones that do are certainly few and far between.

Never mind the rest of the world, just look at British boxing over the past decade and there have been numerous parting of the ways. Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe both got to the top of the tree and then moved on from Frank Warren who had handed them the defining nights of their careers - coincidentally two of which came at the Manchester Arena. Hatton defeated legend Kostya Tsyzu and Calzaghe American Jeff Lacy.

There are many more examples that could be highlighted but one that will not join the long list, according to Barry McGuigan, is his tight-knit relationship with IBF World super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton.

Tonight in the Manchester Arena, McGuigan will sit nervously and passionately as the man he describes as "another son to me" waits for the first bell against Scott Quigg.

Both Frampton's IBF belt and Quigg's WBA World title are on the line in a pay-per-view event that will generate huge revenue. It's big business at the top end of the sport but for McGuigan the personal side will have his heart pumping come fight time.

"The one thing he has got is grace and if you look up the definition of grace you'll see that it describes Carl and when this is all over we'll be friends forever. We love Christine and his children - the personality of Carla is incredible, she's an amazing kid. He's like another son to me, he's part of the family," says McGuigan, who first caught sight of Frampton at the EU Championships in Dublin nine years ago.

Frampton would win silver before going on to win Ulster and Irish senior titles.

"When I first saw him I didn't even know he was from Belfast. I went back to speak to him and then of course when he started speaking I knew right away. When he won the Irish senior title, beating David Oliver Joyce, I knew right away he had something special," said McGuigan. "After I retired I had many people ask me to manage them but I didn't go for it but when I saw Carl I knew there was something there that I could work with.

"We immediately clicked... he was to an extent a little bit in awe of me but I wanted him to relax because I like to get to know guys well and it was very important that he felt comfortable in my company.

"We're alike in many ways, he's very driven - he's very focused, he's a very decent kid and respects people.

"He's sensitive when speaking about things, he has an understanding about how to speak to people and make sure that he doesn't offend people because he's a genuinely good guy.

"It says a lot that the whole country is behind him and that meant a lot to me too. I sent out a tweet only this week saying how much I appreciated what the Shankill Road Barry McGuigan Supporters Club did for me and then you look at Carl and you have the people of the Falls who love Carl Frampton - this is great, to see everyone united behind Carl.

"In his last two fights on ITV he had 75 per cent of the Northern Ireland television viewing audience which tells you a lot.

"We have so much that we're alike on but we're different the way we fight. He has his own unique way of fighting."

Having signed up the Jackal in 2009, the former World featherweight king immediately predicted a bright future for Tigers Bay man Frampton and now he has reached the point where every fighter wants to be - the pay-per-view stage which guarantees life-changing remuneration.

"This is the beginning of Carl's big fights - super fights. This is where I always wanted him to be and I really believe that from here he can have half a dozen really big fights," added McGuigan.

"Over the next half a dozen fights you will see the difference and it will be the best fighters who bring out the best in him.

"He's going to be electrifying against Quigg. Carl has an innate boxing intelligience, it's something that you're born with. Scott's a very nice kid and I have a lot of respect for him but he's not more dedicated than Carl Frampton.

"They try to make out that he is because of the way he trains but in fact to my mind Carl is more dedicated because he leaves his family.

"Carl has the ability to be fired up for a fight and stay cool... we've seen it before with the fights against Kiko Martinez and in his fight with Chris Avalos.

"He has that level of maturity and calmness but we have yet to see how Quigg performs in this kind of situation. Carl has a history of fights with massive expectation, Quigg has never had this before so we'll see how he reacts on the night."

One thing is certain, McGuigan will be throwing every punch and feeling every blow as Frampton goes all-out to prove he is the UK's number one super-bantamweight.

Belfast Telegraph

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