Ruthless Carl Frampton has been lifted to a whole new level following Avalos demolition
The debate over who is the number one fighter in the super-bantamweight division is surely drawing to a close. Carl Frampton's brutal fifth round stoppage of Chris Avalos leaves little room for further argument.
A year ago WBA/WBO champion Guillermo Rigondeaux would probably have had the edge over Frampton. Not now. WBC champion Leo Santa Cruz and Frampton would have been 50-50. Not now. That leaves bitter unbeaten rival Scott Quigg who frankly seems likely to face a similar fate to Avalos when - as seems highly probable - they meet in an open air sports stadium this June.
Those ignorant of the Noble Art and Californian Avalos may think his challenge did not match the hyperbole but that would be to underestimate just how special a talent Frampton truly is - and will become - as Saturday night was evidently the start of the Tigers Bay man's peak years.
Not only is the 28-year-old IBF champion arguably the number one fighter at 122lb but he is also a real contender for the current top 10 pound for pound list. Victories over Quigg and Rigondeaux will rubber stamp such a status.
Mandatory challenger Avalos had entered the ring with a swagger as he had walked around Belfast all week but he was a gun slinger without ammunition and within 30 seconds, the speed and power of Frampton had awakened him to his fate on Saturday night.
Coach Shane McGuigan revealed: "He glanced across at me and I just winked and smiled back, he knew what was coming - he wasn't expecting that kind of power from Carl."
The 9,000 packed into the Odyssey, who almost unhinged the roof when legendary MC Michael Buffer brought the fighters to battle with his trademark 'Let's get ready to rumble', sensed blood from the third round onwards as Frampton's electric feet and hand speed punished Avalos for every snide remark in the build-up.
Referee Howard Foster wisely stepped in at 1:33 of the fifth with Avalos reduced to a rag doll. The ITV screen test had been passed in style. Now for Quigg.
"I think this was my best performance, with every fight I'm getting better and better and I felt comfortable in there. I felt comfortable against Kiko (Martinez) but even more so this time," said Frampton.
"He was a dirty fighter, hit me with the head a few times and hit me on the break... I wanted to teach him a few manners because he was very disrespectful leading up to the fight and even after the fight he didn't show me respect. In the second and third rounds he was saying 'you hit like a pussy'. I give him respect as a fighter but as a man I don't.
"He seemed slow to me, I was catching him with right hands a lot. He was absolutely gone and Howard Foster jumped in at just the right time because he could have got seriously hurt.
"Now I want the Quigg fight, it's the perfect time to do it. I always said from the start of my career that I wanted to win a British title but he never let me do that when he was British champion and now I am way past that level.
"The fight has been brewing, it's time to do it now and I'll fight him anywhere."
It's now down to manager Barry McGuigan, who celebrated his 54th birthday on Saturday, to get Quigg to sign on the dotted line.
"We want to go and box in England now and we want to go and box in America. We really believe there is a future with ITV and we hope that ITV were excited about this fight and I think we can have the fight with Quigg on ITV as long as he is sensible and not too greedy, that can happen," said McGuigan.
"He has to realise that he has what is called the WBA regular title, Carl has the legitimate world title and he's the attraction - he packed 16,000 in for his world title fight against Martinez and we had 9,000 in the Odyssey and could have had double.
"I think the fight can be a 30,000 seater. We could do it indoor at the MEN in Manchester which holds 20,000 or we could go outdoor at Queen's Park Rangers - that rings a bell... our sponsor CWM sponsors Chelsea so Stamford Bridge is a possibility and we are not ruling out Ravenhill either.
"Eddie Hearn keeps pushing to make it a Pay-per-view fight but it would be much better on terrestrial TV. It'll make these guys superstars and give millions and millions of people a chance to watch a great fight. The stumbling block is the possibility of someone being greedy."
Whether it be Quigg or anyone else in the opposite corner come June, it seems the Jackal is now simply unstoppable.