Dominant win over McCreary shows Frampton still among boxing's elite
Tyler McCreary was so far out of his depth he could have washed up on Bondi beach after these 10 one-sided rounds, while Carl Frampton reminded us that he remains a shark within boxing’s elite.
Only world class fighters - Leo Santa Cruz and Josh Warrington - have got the better of Frampton and so it evidently remains on the back of his dominant Las Vegas victory over McCreary, who despite his unbeaten record was outclassed from the opening bell to the last. All three judges had it 100-88 for the Belfast man, who had the American on the floor with body shots in rounds six and nine.
It came as no surprise that WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring stood alongside promoter Bob Arum in the ring as Frampton conducted his post-fight interview. The details of a fight between Herring and Frampton are now to be ironed out with the challenger having home advantage.
Herring’s dimensions are not dissimilar to those of McCreary, but that’s where the comparisons end. An inch taller than his countryman at 5ft 10’, Herring will have a five-inch reach advantage over Frampton who will be seeking to become the first boxer from the Emerald Isle to become a three-division world champion when they clash in 2020.
But, Frampton defies the natural order of boxing with a God-given diamond jab that can penetrate the defence of a fighter such as McCreary with a nine-inch reach advantage. Vainly the Ohio man’s corner implored him to gain control with his long limbs, clearly unaware of the former world super-bantam and featherweight champion’s natural ability to slide in and out and spear out his own left hand – McCreary’s head snapping back so often you wondered if it would end up in the front row VIP seats.
Volume punchers with a genuine belief are the threat to Frampton, but from the opening exchanges in the Cosmopolitan Hotel it was clear from the wide-eyed stare of McCreary that he had entered unchartered waters. Frampton, meanwhile, was going to press cruise control, displaying little sign of rust even though it had been 343 days since he last entered the ring in the Manchester Arena when losing to IBF World featherweight champion Warrington.
That was a bruising encounter for Frampton, who never truly recovered from the opening, electrifying assaults of the Leeds warrior. Allowing himself to be dragged into a close quarter brawl, he paid a heavy price. Lessons had been learned he insisted, as did coach Jamie Moore and there was a poise and disciplined precision about the Jackal’s work in Vegas that will have pleased both men – as well as his supporters in the arena and at home.
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McCreary may not have offered the threat that Herring will pose but the unanimous points victory nevertheless gave us a glimpse at how Frampton – 33 in February – will clinically go about seeking to take the title from the former US Marine.
Controlling the early action with his quick feet and sharp single blows as he made McCreary repeatedly fall short with his punches, Frampton smartly feinted to the head and then picked his opponent off with solid blows to the body. Consequently, there was pain etched across McCreary’s face in the fifth round, which also saw him sustain a cut to the left eye due to an accidental head clash.
Frampton could smell weakness and maintained his body assaults, forcing McCreary to the canvas with a sizzling left hook. Credit to the American for managing to see out the round and having is best round in the seventh – even momentarily stinging the Jackal to the body. It was a fleeting moment of success and Frampton – annoyed he had allowed himself to be caught – simply returned to being the boss.
A text book double left hook to the body had McCreary down in the ninth and he remained in survival mode to the final bell. Questions over Frampton’s desire and possible decline had been answered and cast away into the Vegas night air.
“There’s no question about my hunger. I want to be a world champion again. If I’d lost this fight I would have been done,” said Frampton, who suffered a broken hand when a hotel pillar fell on him ahead of a proposed fight in August in Philadelphia.
“It may not have been the most exciting fight but I just wanted to be safe with my hands. I had re-fractured my left hand in camp and only had 28 rounds of sparring. I hurt it in the first round and the second round so I had to be careful otherwise I could have maybe stepped it up and stopped him.
“But I feel good and I’m really excited now about the chance to fight Jamel for his world title. I’ve just met him for the first time and he seems a nice guy, very respectful.”
Almost a year ago it all looked rather bleak for Frampton following that loss to world champion Warrington – one which he would still love to avenge – but now the Northern Ireland hero is dreaming of at least one more glorious night in the ring and the chance to make history.
Belfast Telegraph Digital