Carl Frampton: Not all fighters are made for professional boxing
Tommy McCarthy is a fighter with a bright future and his team seem to be willing to give him proper tests that will help him progress up the rankings but it concerns me to see too many guys who are being given a false sense of security in the ring.
Bringing a fighter along at the right pace, with the right opponents is crucial and in my own career my manager Barry McGuigan did a good job in giving me a step up in class each time I fought. I can only remember one time, in my third fight when I fought a guy who wasn’t up to scratch but that was because he was a very late change of opponent.
In the early days I was taken across the country for sparring and I learned so much from that and won my world title in my 19th fight which was quite an achievement. Tommy did well in his sixth fight beating Courtney Fry last weekend and I know he has been going to England and other places for a few weeks good sparring which will help him a lot — and Tommy is a talented fighter so he can move quickly up the ladder, particularly in the cruiserweight division where there’s not a great depth of talent. I see him fighting for a British title within four or five fights.
But the worrying thing is seeing some guys turning pro who really should stay amateur. I know everyone has dreams but professional boxing is a different business altogether to any other sport. People who don’t know boxing can be walking down the street, bump into someone who tells them they’re a professional boxer and automatically that person will think the fighter must be very good but the fact is you don’t have to be very good to be a pro boxer. It’s not like golf or football when, if you sign a professional contract, then you must be of a certain level and play in a certain division. In boxing, there’s nothing to stop you being a professional fighter.
Of course the sport needs those who are known as journeymen and good journeymen make a career out of surviving four or six rounds so they can go on to the next pay-day — and there’s a certain amount of learning you get from that. But now there seems to be boxers who are being fed journeyman after journeyman and they start to believe their own hype and even get arrogant and those behind them keep telling them they’ll be a champion and that’s dangerous.
Once one of these protected fighters — normally the ones who sell tickets — gets hit back they just don’t know what to do, they find themselves in big trouble and boxing is an unforgiving sport and that’s why it’s so important to have the right team around you, being honest with you, because not everyone can become a British, European or World champion, or even an Area champion.
If you look at America, they have loads of so-called journeymen who would beat some of those seen as prospects in the UK.
My gym-mate Josh Taylor fought a really tough guy on his debut in El Paso. The guy came out winging from the start and Josh had to be really on his game and did very well to stop him. I’m not sure what the answer is but I think those closest to the boxer, the parents, need to talk to someone who knows the business before they encourage their son to turn pro.
You can’t allow yourself to be deluded in professional boxing, it’s too tough.