Belfast Telegraph

Comment: Carl Frampton must rediscover harmony to climb back to the world's summit

 

By David Kelly

For so long it had appeared to be a well oiled machine, unstoppable in plundering the riches the boxing world could offer. Carl Frampton and Barry McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions were a force to be reckoned with on boxing's precarious high seas. Now cast adrift from each other, they must settle on a new course.

While Frampton's personal and managerial relationship with former World champion McGuigan was always seen as the primary role in the success of the Jackal, there is no doubt the way he gelled with coach Shane, two years his junior, was crucial to fighter and company striding the world stage with aplomb.

Frampton, always seen as a natural fighter for the paid ranks, was in tune with the man with whom he shared an amateur feat - both men winning their first Ulster senior titles at Andersonstown Leisure Centre on a cold Friday night in April 2008.

Just a few years later and Shane would be the man in the corner as Frampton lifted the European bantamweight title with a stunning knockout of Kiko Martinez. Belfast was alive to Frampton and the McGuigan story which would go on to produce chapters of World title success at super-bantamweight and featherweight.

So when did the flagship run out of joy? As the French philosopher Albert Camus quipped, "But what is happiness, except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads."

The recipe of success seemed to be in their hands until an off-night in Las Vegas at the start of the year when Leo Santa Cruz took away the WBA World featherweight title from a stale Frampton.

The 30-year-old Belfast man has now decided to pursue his own course back to the top after announcing via Twitter that he had parted company with the McGuigan clan.

"I would like to thank Barry, the McGuigan family and Cyclone promotions for our time together," said the boxer.

"Having taken time to consider my future and discussed it with those closest to me, I am confident that now is the right time to move forward and take my career into my own hands.

"I still believe that I'm the best featherweight in the world and I promise my fans that I am continuing with my efforts to get my homecoming fight rescheduled in the very near future."

An elite sportsman needs to feel that he is in control of his destiny and Frampton clearly feels that his fists need to have a stronger hold on the tiller as he enters a new and closing chapter of a career that will be talked about for as long as there is boxing on the Emerald Isle.

There is no doubt that he was left frustrated when a third bout with Santa Cruz fell through earlier this year and that was followed by a proposed World super-featherweight title challenge also biting the dust. IBF World featherweight champion Lee Selby was then brought into the mix but once again it was a false dawn when the Welshman accepted he had to face his mandatory challenger last month.

That was just a week before Frampton was supposed to meet world-ranked Andres Gutierrez only for the Mexican to fall in his bathroom at the Culloden Hotel. The Jackal's homecoming at Belfast's SSE Arena was scrapped at 24 hours notice, while earlier in the day Northern Ireland's hero had failed to make the 9st featherweight limit.

Frampton would later admit that his mind was not fully on his job in camp and while Cyclone Promotions spoke of the fight being rescheduled, you got the feeling it was not the challenge that either the Jackal or coach McGuigan wanted.

Last week the show was officially cancelled and, so, we have arrived at the point of no return for Frampton and the McGuigans, who enjoyed so many great nights together.

The Jackal is moving on and as he charters the deep waters again he will do so with a wealth of experience and the box office appeal to make sure that he retires a wealthy man.

Eddie Hearn, Frank Warren, Al Haymon and Bob Arum to name a few will all be keen to lend a promotional hand to one of the sport's most exciting and engaging personalities as he seeks to become a World champion once more.

His old amateur coach Billy McKee often stated that Frampton was a young man who always knew what he wanted and was fiercely determined to achieve his goal and the fire in his belly remains to give his supporters some more glorious evenings.

Partnerships come and go in the boxing world, intense relationships in any walk of life can burn out and now the Jackal has to piece together a new crew with which to take on the world.

Quite simply, the harmony will have to return in order to lead the boxing life that will take him back to the summit.

The Frampton journey moves on.

Belfast Telegraph

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