Carl Frampton rose to the occasion in emphatic fashion when he crushed the threat of Hugo Cazares inside two rounds of their WBC super-bantamweight title final eliminator at the Oddysey Arena last night.
Before 9,000 Frampton maniacs, the 5ft 5’ 122lb fighting machine rubber stamped his World title credentials by dismantling two-weight champion Cazares with a cocktail of blistering handpseed and monumental power.
The end came at 1:38 of the second round following a sweeping left hook to the Mexican’s temple, which disconnected his senses and sent his legs into a drunken dance before he hit the canvas.
Clearly shaken up, Cazares was on one knee while referee Victor Loughlin gave the count and it appeared at one stage that he would rise to continue but instead failed to beat the count.
The pride in the former world light-flyweight and super-flyweight champion – ranked number one by the WBC going into the fight – led him to offer a protest to referee Loughlin but it was significant that his cornermen did not back up his suggestion of a premature stoppage.
Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan immediately stated that negotiations for the showdown with Santa Cruz would now be cranked up over the coming weeks.
“Carl has shown again that he has world class power. The last time this guy was stopped was in 1999 which says a lot. This is what Carl can do to the best fighters in the division and now we are the mandatory challenger for Santa Cruz,” said McGuigan.
“There’s a lot of negotiations ahead and we’ll have to see whether the fight can be brought to Belfast or if we have to travel to America.
“We really want to bring it to Belfast because the fans here deserve it. The support is second to none and we are looking at Ravenhill or an outside venue at the King’s Hall, the Balmoral Showgrounds.
“I’ve said it all along, this guy is the real deal and the people here know their boxing and they know that he is the genuine article. I have to give a lot of credit to my son Shane for the shape that he has got Carl in.
“He had a great camp, we had some great sparring and he was in the best shape possible and he gave another world class performance.”
Mexican Cazares had claimed that his vast experience of 49 fights, including world title success at light-flyweight and super-flyweight, would see him prevail but he clearly hadn’t reckoned on the force that would be standing in front of him.
Frampton’s every punch was met with a ravenous roar, as his fans beckoned him to bring about the stoppage but the Jackal is a man of composure and calculation. That was seen in the opening exchanges as he circled the ring, quickly weighing up the holes in his opponent’s defence. Frampton cranked up the pace and from the moment he landed a solid left hand and then a right to the body it was obvious that Cazares was not prepared for such power coming his way.
The Mexican had started boxing from an orthodox stance but then switched to southpaw, clearly believing that he would have more success but to no avail as Frampton’s speed was simply too much for his 36-year-old reflexes.
The Jackal, who came into the ring to the tune ‘You’re Love lifts me higher’ in dedication to the fans, landed single right hands to the body at will and the Mexican did his best to mask the electric shocks which were rippling through his body.
At the start of the second round Cazares tried to stand and trade and as they came close together there were a few dangerous clashes of heads but thankfully neither man suffered a cut. But then their legs tangled and the Mexican complained to the referee that he had damaged his left thigh which caused a halt in the action just as it was warming up.
Moments later and the fight was terminated when Frampton backed up Cazares and unloaded that hammer left hand.
Cazares will leave Belfast with the biggest purse of his career, while Frampton now looks ahead to a life changing battle with Santa Cruz.