Carl Frampton v Alejandro Gonzalez: Coach Virgil Hunter has no doubt that our man will capture American audience in El Paso
Jackal vows to conquer the states by proving he's the best super-bantamweight in the world
Top American coach Virgil Hunter has no doubt that Carl Frampton will capture the American audience tonight when he makes the second defence of his IBF World super-bantamweight title at the Don Haskins Centre in El Paso, Texas tonight, writes David Kelly.
Hill, the coach of Amir Khan, has been watching 28-year-old Frampton from afar on television but will get a much closer look when ringside this evening for the Belfast man's battle with Alejandro Gonzalez jnr.
“I think that Carl Frampton is getting better and better, he has shown greater versatility and he's grown as a fighter,” said Hill, speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph.
“More importantly, he is making fights easy for him because of his brains and that's so important. You can have all the ability but you need to have the brains to be a great fighter.
“With a fighter of Carl's style I think the American public will really take to him. He's got an exciting style and he is more cerebral than a lot of fighters.
“He's fortunate to be in a division with a lot of Hispanic fighters because the Hispanic fan base is very big, so I think he can do really well here.”
Gutsy Frampton is going all out to begin his American revolution in style
El Paso, Texas has historically been a place for new beginnings and revolution, so it's probably fitting that the same stage has been afforded to Carl Frampton as he seeks to awaken the American public to his unique story.
This progressive city was home to Conrad Hilton's first high-rise hotel in 1930, while the old Municipal Airport saw the first Continental Airlines flight four years later and from the new airport to downtown El Paso, the array of building projects catch the eye.
For Frampton, the Don Haskins Centre in the University of El Paso is the place he could one day look back on as the start of his own American dream.
It's not as if British and Irish boxing has not had many gifted fighters in the history of pugilism but only a few have found themselves soaring across the US horizon with genuine respect flowing in their direction - most recently Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan.
The signs this week in El Paso have been good for Frampton, with the local media curious about his past, present and future but it is tonight (10pm UK/3pm El Paso time) when he steps through the ropes that the Jackal must prove to the Americans he is no ordinary limey.
Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez jnr, 22, will come with his guns loaded, ready to derail the Frampton mission of a performance which will hammer home his name into the hearts and minds of American sports fans - and of course the challenger will have 99 per cent of the support during the Jackal's second defence of his IBF World super-bantamweight title.
But if Frampton is going to feel like an outsider when he walks to the ring, the 28-year-old champion is confident that even the Mexicans will be applauding him when the dust settles on his battle with Gonzalez, son of former World featherweight champion Alejandro snr.
Indeed, the 5ft 5in fighting machine's recollection of his last defence when he stopped Chris Avalos at the Odyssey Arena suggests Gonzalez jnr will find his dream of following in his father's footsteps turning to dust.
"When I fought Avalos everything was in slow motion that night. I felt that I could see everything, that he was slow but he couldn't have been that slow. I was just in the zone, I suppose," said Frampton.
"I seem to be reading the punches better than ever, I'm more calm and more relaxed, trying things out... in your first few fights as a pro you're throwing punches and not reading what is coming back.
"I feel that I am more controlled and confident, you can see that in my face in the wins over Kiko Martinez and Avalos.
"I do feel that I am improving all the time, that I am now in my peak years and there's still more room for improvement. This is the right time for me to be in America and I have to make a good impression - that's why we're here.
"If you want to go down in history as an all-time great then this is the place where you have to gain respect. You need big fights here and big wins.
"I would describe myself as a box fighter, I feel like I've got an exciting style that the Americans and Mexicans are going to appreciate and if you look at how the Mexicans have especially taken to the top middleweight Gennady Golovkin, that's what I want.
"I think I have a crowd pleasing style and I would like to be the Irish version of Golovkin.
"As a kid you always have dreams and have a belief in yourself, but this is now bigger than anything that I have ever thought of before... the recognition back home is really good, it's nice to be liked by the people and now I hope my fan base can spread.
"I really want to go out and show the Americans the very best Carl Frampton because I believe I'm the best super-bantamweight in the world."
The only man who could challenge Frampton's assertion that he is the undisputed number one in the division is Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux, the WBA champion - though he is now expected to move up to featherweight for a battle with the outstanding WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
But of course tonight's clash, live on CBS in the States, is not just about Frampton making it win number 21 against gritty challenger Gonzalez jnr but to start generating the kind of box office appeal Stateside which he enjoys in abundance in Northern Ireland.
Challenger Gonzalez would seem to be bringing a fresh, passionate determination - spliced with a little naivety - to the ring as well as height and reach advantages which he must use to the full extent if he is to have any chance of causing a huge upset.
By contrast, in Frampton he is facing a man who is reaching the peak of his powers, pursuing a lasting legacy in the sport and it would seem with every attribute to be a major hit Stateside.
Gonzalez will probably seek to make it awkward for the champion by boxing on the back foot but when the Jackal corners him and unloads some of his fearsome armoury, the writing will be on the wall for the Mexican's challenge.
The Frampton American revolution should have started by the sixth round.
Belfast Telegraph Digital