Forget about a Frampton win: The belt will be going back to Spain, says Sergio Martinez
Former middleweight king Sergio Martinez has brought his own little piece of boxing stardust to Belfast and is convinced it will help bring the downfall of Carl Frampton at Titanic Quarter tomorrow night.
Martinez, the head of Maravilla Promotions who look after IBF super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez, has no doubt the Spaniard will return to Alicante with his belt – but only after a great fight.
The 39-year-old Argentinian knows all about causing pain to British fighters, having beaten the likes of Darren Barker, Martin Murray – and Richard Williams at the King's Hall in April 2004.
Now, 10 years later, he is back to oversee the defeat of Frampton.
"Kiko is going to put on a great show and he's going to win by a knockout," says Sergio, who is currently nursing a sore knee and bruised ego after having to withdraw from his WBC World middleweight title defence with Miguel Cotto in the 10th round in June.
"Since last time Kiko has learned a lot, he has matured as a boxer, he is much more ready to win because he is a better boxer.
"The last time Kiko and Frampton fought, Kiko suffered from the atmosphere but now this time I believe he will be able to deal with it, he is not going to feel the pressure of the atmosphere because he has just knocked out three World champions in his past three fights.
"I know what it is like to win a re-match, I did it against Paul Williams and the best advice I can give Kiko Martinez at this time is to be confident in the work he has done with Gaby Sarmiento.
"The work he has done has been great ... I think that Gaby can be the difference between winning and losing in this fight."
While Sergio is fully confident in the champion's ability to avenge his solitary knockout defeat, at the hands of Frampton 18 months ago, he nevertheless is quick to recognise the considerable talent of the 27-year-old Jackal.
"Carl Frampton is a helluva boxer, the first fight was really good and this will be even better," says Sergio.
"Frampton's feet are really fast and the way he moves his legs, he gives himself good distance.
"He's not your typical Irish or UK fighter with all due to respect to fighters here ... he uses his defence very well, he is more like Latin American or American fighter."
As for his own career, Sergio hasn't given up hope of returning to the ring and reclaiming his World middleweight crown, though admits it is outside his control.
"I've got the will to carry on but I am waiting on medical advice next week about my right knee but hopefully it'll be alright and I can fight again."