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Steely-eyed Carl never blinks first in Mexican stand-off

By Ruth Gorman

Published 18/07/2015

Thirsty work: Carl Frampton with his trainer Shane McGuigan
Thirsty work: Carl Frampton with his trainer Shane McGuigan

The weigh in for the matinee show in El Paso was held in a hotel ballroom and a few hundred gathered to support different fighters. But the loudest cheer was for our own Carl Frampton.

Yes, he's headlining the afternoon show, after three in the afternoon, 10pm back home, but bear in mind he's halfway across the world on the Mexican border, a long way from the Shore Road.

Yet, he's already building up a fan base here in America. The man who runs the gym Carl has been using told me that he has followed Carl's last few fights and is a big fan of his. He is also a fan of Leo Santa Cruz, the WBC Super Bantamweight champion, but believes Carl would beat him if the fight ever happens.

Both fighters made the weight and immediately afterwards, Carl downed a special drink made up by his coach Shane McGuigan, containing protein and carbs before heading off straight away to tuck in at a proper American diner.

Leading up to the fight Carl has been eating steaks and salads but after a weigh in, he adds the likes of sweet potatoes to that. Carbs allow him to bulk up a bit for the fight but he continues to keep his food clean.

The food varies in El Paso, as you'd expect there are plenty of Mexican dishes but not being a fan of spicy food, I haven't tried any! There are also plenty of steak houses in keeping with the Tex-Mex theme.

I did expect to see cactus and cowboys hats aplenty but that hasn't been the case - with El Paso being only a couple of miles from Mexico, it is more mountains and tacos.

Some diehard fans have made the trip out to support Frampton and they have told me the shopping is good here -, there are a couple of outlets close by and some shopping malls. I believe Carl has stocked up on a few T-shirts and jeans while he's been here, too!

The Don Haskins Arena, where fights tonight, is used by the local university for basketball and is very impressive. It's a 12,000 seater and although Carl doesn't have his usual home support, I think he'll have enough behind him to raise the roof.

I always find it interesting to watch the boxers during the face-off after a weigh-in. Carl never blinks first and that didn't change in Texas. After staring each other out for about 30 seconds, Gonzalez looked away first and stood smiling into the cameras. Advantage Frampton.

The pair didn't speak to each other but Frampton shouted 'and still' before walking away. Those are the words I'm expecting to hear in the Don Haskins later today. Still champion.

Ruth Gorman reports from Texas each night for UTV Live

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