Ricky Hatton backs Carl Frampton to prove he is world class
British boxing legend Ricky Hatton says Northern Ireland will see Carl Frampton take a huge step towards becoming the country's latest world champion at the Odyssey Arena tomorrow night.
Hatton, a two-weight world champion at light-welter and welter, is primarily in town to be in the corner of unbeaten protégé Ryan Burnett who kicks off the Cyclone Promotions multi-title bill with his fifth fight against Stefan Slavchev.
But the Hitman is also looking forward to witnessing the toughest test of Frampton's career, against Mexican Hugo Cazarez.
Hatton said of the Jackal: "If people are unsure about Carl Frampton being world class, they are going to see for sure that he is world class and by beating this guy Cazarez he will prove to everyone that he is worthy of a world title shot with Leo Santa Cruz.
"With the victory over Cazarez he will prove to the fight fans and to himself that he is ready for Santa Cruz.
"I saw him in his last fight with Jeremy Parodi and you could see the maturity about his performance.
"It wasn't necessarily the guy he beat the last time but it was the manner that he went about it – how cool he was.
"You could see that he picked his punches very nicely and the manner at which he wins at that level shows you that he has it within him to go that extra step towards the world title.
"If you're struggling with them type of guys then you're probably not going to get to the next level. But Carl is looking better and better all the time."
Prior to sitting down to watch Frampton-Cazarez, Hatton will be hoping the Belfast fans see the potential in Belfast bantamweight Burnett, an Olympic Youth gold medallist.
Hatton added: "I hope the fans have a few less Guinness and come in early and watch Ryan because they will be really surprised just how good he is. He has great handspeed and boxing ability and he's now sitting down on his punches more.
"I really believe there is every chance that Ryan can be where Carl is now in a few years time."