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Frampton v Santa Cruz: Champ Carl will always be a hero to his loyal legion of supporters

By Ruth Gorman

It's fight day. Fans all over Vegas, and back home, have woken up with the same excitement as kids at Christmas.

They've watched the epic thrillers of the past from here; Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Floyd Mayweather to name but a few of the greats who have graced the ring in the Mecca of boxing.

After tonight, Carl Frampton's name will be added to that list.

In previous camps he's openly admitted struggling to make the weight. Since moving up to featherweight I've noticed a huge difference in his personality during fight week.

Previously he would have hated how he felt during the final few days, as would anyone who's restricted from eating.

Although making weight is the hardest part for any boxer in the last week, Frampton is enjoying himself much more than usual; despite being asked identical questions repeatedly all week by a considerable amount of media outlets.

He's not just patiently answering them all, but he's doing so with the same enthusiasm with which he's answered the very same question ten times previously on that very day.

"I feel like I'm a proper featherweight now, there's no sign of me slowing up, I honestly feel like I'm getting better," he told me.

Despite moving up in weight for his last fight with Santa Cruz in New York last summer, he has learnt things from that camp which have helped make this one smoother. Things like knowing how much weight he can comfortably lose in the last few days.

The electric atmosphere at the weigh-in has left everyone in Vegas itching to get into the MGM Grand Garden Arena tonight to cheer Frampton on to victory once again.

He'll keep himself to himself on fight day, avoiding the large crowds of Jackal fans that can be spotted walking around the MGM hotel, or sitting at the casino tables.

His wife, and biggest fan, Christine arrived the night before the weigh-in along with his parents - they'll provide a calming influence on the already relaxed Frampton as the adrenaline and nerves start to kick in.

Their children Carla and Rossa were front row with their mum in New York as Frampton made history by becoming the first ever Northern Ireland man and only the second Irishman to be crowned a two-weight world champion.

They haven't made the trip this time around but they'll be at the front of Frampton's thoughts.

"I just want to make my kids proud of me, I want them to talk about me in years to come and tell people they are proud that I was their dad," Frampton revealed.

Frampton's final image before leaving Dressing Room One tonight will be the photograph of Christine, Carla and Rossa he sticks to the wall. Win lose or draw, Carl Frampton will still be their hero.

Ruth Gorman is UTV Sport Correspondent. You can watch her reports from Las Vegas every evening

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