Show time as Carl Frampton vows to blow away Gonzales in El Paso
It wasn't what Carl Frampton said or didn't say, but the vibe he gave off to everyone at a packed media conference in the Don Haskins Centre, the air of a man who simply feels unstoppable, writes David Kelly
Frampton arrived at the University of El Paso, Texas venue flanked by manager Barry McGuigan and coach Shane McGuigan and calmly went about a series of interviews before speaking from the top table and outlining the sense of opportunity that has been handed him by live coverage on CBS Stateside and ITV in the UK.
Unlike with his previous defence in Belfast when Chris Avalos let loose a relentless amount of trash talk, challenger Alejandro Gonzalez jr showed the champion - making his American debut - respect throughout. Both men will let their fists do the talking and Frampton is confident his will be doing it the loudest.
The unbeaten 28-year-old from Tigers Bay has slowly but surely built up a certain aura of confidence that now seems to unnerve many opponents and 22-year-old Gonzalez was showing such signs; the magnitude of the occasion and challenge starting to sink in.
For Frampton it seemed like another day at the pugilistic office, counting down to tomorrow night, UK time, when he will seek to win over new fans - those on their sofas and just as importantly the television executives.
He is convinced that all will feel they have invested their dollars wisely in the Jackal, when they witness his performance against Gonzalez. Usually, leading up to a big show in Belfast, he feeds off the buzz around the city and the great expectations the country have motivated him as much as his own desire for glory but this time it is much more internal - it's about his career pushing to another level. "It's a different expectation I suppose because it's about the fact that this fight is going out coast to coast in the States and it's my American debut and I'm wanting to be the best I've looked yet in a fight," said Frampton.
"People still haven't seen that, they haven't seen the best of me and everything that I can do. My team see it every day in the gym but I still haven't performed the way I can and on Saturday night that's what I want show everyone here in America and back home.
"I think Gonzalez will try to keep it long, keep it at distance because he has the height advantage but I'm smart enough and clever enough to know how to get up close and beat up close. But also if I need to beat him off the back foot I could do that as well.
"If just depends how he fights and what I can do and I want to go and get him, look explosive and knock him out. We've had about five Mexican sparring partners in for this fight and previously I fought a good Mexican, so I've sparred and fought Mexicans so I know what to expect. Mexicans are typically very brave people and I expect to see that from Alejandro Gonzalez.
"I think once I tag him, his Mexican heart will come out and he'll want to come and have a fight with me and that's going to be pleasing for the fans."
The word 'pressure' is usually bandied around when it comes to a Frampton fight night and it could be argued that given the stage he is on for the first time in the States, that this will be one of the most pressurised situations for the champion.
"There's been pressure on me throughout my whole career, even from the moment when Barry signed me up so I'm used to pressure and as long as you can control the pressure that's not a bad thing. I have controlled the pressure up to this point of my career and I'm sure I can do it again - I can deal with pressure," added Frampton, who revealed that he was on the super-bantamweight limit of 122lb ahead of today's weigh-in.
"I've been eating well and drinking well and everything has gone really well in the camp. The sparring has been great and I'm ready."
Gonzalez snr, a former World featherweight champion, revealed that for the first time his son spent seven weeks in Los Angeles training for the biggest fight of his life so far and his son expressed his confidence in being able to rise to the occasion.
"I believe that I have a good smart boxing brain, I know when to box and when to fight. I have improved my style. I am ready for the way he fights and there are some weaknesses that we have seen that we believe we can get to."