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People's champion Carl Frampton can bow out on a high with a perfect farewell in 2020

 

Carl Frampton knocks down Tyler McCreary
Carl Frampton knocks down Tyler McCreary
Carl Frampton is a witness at a wedding in Vegas of two of his supporters
David Kelly

By David Kelly

It was just as well that Carl Frampton didn't take too many punches on Saturday evening as he had a wedding to attend the next morning. The former world champion had delivered in the ring again and then carried out his duties to a Northern Ireland couple who had asked if he would be their witness in one of the Vegas wedding chapels.

One of the country's all-time favourite sports stars, Frampton has now set up the opportunity of becoming a three-weight world champion in 2020.

Having won world titles at super-bantam and featherweight, he is close to sealing a deal to face WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring - a bout expected to take place in Belfast in April or May.

American Tyler McCreary was given a boxing lesson by the Jackal in the Cosmopolitan Hotel, paving the way for Frampton to meet Herring as well as the possibility of return bouts with the two men who have inflicted defeats on him during a professional career which started in 2009 - Josh Warrington and Leo Santa Cruz.

Realistically, Frampton will have two bouts at most over the next 12 months at the end of which he can ride into the sunset on the back of an unforgettable career.

Victory over Herring would be a special moment, a night of history and glory to arguably match any he has enjoyed and that taste of success will no doubt leave him wanting more. Every fighter has had to battle with the drug-like addiction of the ring when they know it would be better to walk away.

If Frampton does have one of the finest years of his career in 2020, the offers will only improve for more money-spinning encounters, such is his box office appeal on both sides of the Atlantic. He may well have plenty more in the tank for further glory but that is just the right time to leave - looking down from the summit with satisfaction rather than the burning frustration of one more shot at the big time.

Frankly, the 32-year-old could have made his exit last year after that painful loss to Warrington and still walked straight into boxing's Hall of Fame as a two-weight world champion who became Northern Ireland's first boxer to unify titles when defeating Scott Quigg in their IBF/WBA super-bantamweight clash in 2016.

But, legendary American promoter Bob Arum has signed him up and opened the door to an opportunity he would not have even dreamed of as a young boxer in the Midland.

It will be far from easy against a man five inches taller and a natural super-featherweight but as Frampton says, he is "daring for greatness".

In the hearts and minds of the Northern Ireland public, that accolade has already been signed and sealed.

Throughout his rise to stardom, Frampton has remained grounded. Whether in victory or defeat, in New York 2016 and Las Vegas 2017, the drinks were on the Jackal for the thousands who travelled to roar him on.

Now, those loyal supporters will have at least one more chance to drive him on to a wonderful 2020 - and the perfect farewell.

Belfast Telegraph

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