Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz: Carl's a winner and he'll defeat Leo in style, predicts Shane McGuigan
Carl Frampton's winning mentality will shine through tonight as he seeks to retain the WBA World featherweight title, according to coach Shane McGuigan.
Together Frampton and McGuigan have climbed the world boxing ladder and the 27-year-old trainer has revealed that it's not only in the ring that the Jackal allows his competitive juices to flow.
"Carl's a winner, whether you're playing pool or table tennis with him he knows how to win. He's really annoying to play against, people think they can beat him but he always wins," said McGuigan.
"Myself or David Haye will take him on and we look better but somehow Carl is the one who is winning. He's a very good strategist and a very disciplined guy and that's the difference between winning and losing in whatever you do."
That mindset is wedded to Frampton's natural desire to put on a show, particularly when the stakes move up another level as they have done for this big re-match with Leo Santa Cruz.
"This is a big event, it's the MGM Grand and Carl is the fighter of the year so it's a big deal but we can't allow ourselves to buy into that, we have to do our job. But you know Carl is an entertainer and whether it's in the gym or on the night of the fight, when there's a good atmosphere he performs even better," said the coach.
"When you want to see the best of Carl Frampton it's when he's on the big stage and here he is boxing at the MGM Grand and the guy on his undercard Mikey Garcia is bidding to become a three-weight world champion, a great fighter - it has been an incredible journey.
"The two of us have gelled so well, I don't think that I could have been put with a better guy as my first fighter to train."
For McGuigan the outcome is not in doubt, only the manner of victory for his close friend whom he believes is in ideal condition.
"I believe this has been one of our best camps... this one and the camp before he fought Chris Avalos in a defence of his IBF super-bantamweight title back in 2015. They are the two stand-out camps for me. Carl has been beating up sparring partners and he has worked well on the little adjustments that he knows he has to make for this second fight. He doesn't need to take as many shots as he did the first time and he has the ring intelligence to make sure that doesn't happen," he said.
"You have niggles in all camps but he hasn't had too many in this one. It has been easier because we know what to expect from Santa Cruz, his strengths and weaknesses.
"Santa Cruz got hurt, he got dropped hard for the first time ever and they were in the corner wondering what was happening.
"I'm not sure how it wasn't registering with Leo that he was losing rounds.
"This time Carl can make it a lot easier for himself… but he does like to entertain."