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Carl Frampton insists he'll make sure this Vegas night is a special one

 

Feeling confident: Carl Frampton flexes his muscles after the weigh-in in Las Vegas last night
Feeling confident: Carl Frampton flexes his muscles after the weigh-in in Las Vegas last night
Carl Frampton with opponent Tyler McCreary
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Under the lights in Las Vegas is the stage that every fighter wants to be part of and few British boxers have had such an opportunity. Carl Frampton's first experience proved to be a painful one and second time around he intends to make sure it is a tale of success.

On the back of a sparkling victory over Leo Santa Cruz in the summer of 2016, Frampton was lined up for a re-match with the Mexican in the MGM Grand, just a short walk from The Cosmopolitan where, in the early hours of Sunday morning, Frampton will meet unbeaten American Tyler McCreary.

Having taken the WBA featherweight title away from Santa Cruz, he entered as a slight favourite to repeat the result and further cement his status as one of the world's top 10 pound for pound fighters in the world. But even as he was being presented with his Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year award at the Thursday press conference, it seemed the usual ebullient bounce was missing.

Fine margins are usually the difference at the highest level of sport and so it proved on January 28, 2017, as Santa Cruz took his revenge with a smart tactical display and never looked back.

Last weekend Frampton was back at the MGM, sitting at ringside to witness Santa Cruz picking up a fourth world title, comfortably lifting the WBA's super-feather belt with a points win over Miguel Flores.

The Belfast man has long made it clear he would relish a third fight to complete the trilogy between the two warriors but Santa Cruz has managed to swerve the overtures, largely beating up opponents of a lower level.

"I don't think the third fight with Santa Cruz will ever happen. I don't even think about it now, it's not worth the energy," says Frampton.

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Instead he has his sights on a possible clash with the WBO super-featherweight champion, American Jamel Herring - if he can finally enjoy a night of combat in Vegas with victory over McCreary who is taking a major step up in class.

"It feels very different this time around fighting in Vegas. I've stayed in a house and everything has just been a lot more relaxed. That doesn't mean the training hasn't been intense because it has, it's just I feel that everything has gone very smoothly," said Frampton.

"I've had the use of the UFC training camp here which is incredible. There's everything you could want here - even an organic canteen so it has been great to have everything in the one place.

"It's great being back in Vegas. It's a special place for fighters, it's the mecca of boxing and to have another chance to headline here is great.

"I feel fresh and ready to go. It's a very important night for me and no better place to show people that you are right back in the world title mix. McCreary is a young, hungry fighter who knows that a win will see him secure a major fight, probably a world title shot.

"It's quite possi­ble that we haven't seen the best of McCreary because usu­ally when a big fight like this comes along a fighter rises to the occa­sion. So, I'm expecting the best ever Tyler McCreary. He's taller than me so no doubt he will feel he can make life very hard for me but ultimately I believe that my strengths trump his strengths."

The Vegas dice may not have rolled his way back in 2017 but Frampton should make sure he is on the trail of another world title shot with a late stoppage win.

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