Carl Frampton now on his way to the top
Caldwell, McGuigan, McAuley, McCullough Frampton? Leaving the Ulster Hall on Friday night you couldn't help wondering if the boy from Tiger's Bay would over the coming years make room for himself in such illustrious company.
All four reached the summit of world boxing and all cut their teeth in the same venue. It may be very early days but Carl Frampton is arguably the most exciting prospect we have seen since his manager Barry McGuigan was being mentored by Barney Eastwood in the early 1980s.
It isn't simply because he demolished Gavin Reid inside two rounds to win the vacant Celtic super-bantamweight title, Frampton is every inch a 21st Century fighter, a man for his generation in more ways than one according to McGuigan.
“He's a Protestant guy with a Catholic girlfriend, you talk about a shared way forward in Northern Ireland he epitomises it, this guy is a modern fighter for a modern Northern Ireland,” said McGuigan.
“He's very proud of Belfast and he'll be fighting here because he's a Belfast boy,” added McGuigan, who has been overlooking the honing of Frampton's skills as well as making sure he is as well conditioned a fighter as this island has ever produced.
The so-called 'Caveman diet' inclusive of steaks for breakfast, nuts and berries given to him by Barry's son Shane has clearly been working a treat for the 23-year-old whose physique looks as if it has been carved out of Persian marble.
“It's funny I let out a few roars when I was coming to the ring, I don't know why, maybe I'm turning into a bit of caveman! The noise was just great, louder than the last time and it got me pumped up,” said Frampton, whose ability to make an opponent miss and then punish him with electrifying pace will prove particularly intimidating as he moves up the super-bantamweight rankings.
Reid was not of the class to act as a barometer for Frampton's ability to deliver on the world stage but the manner of victory over an opponent who had given top British fighters a good work-out suggests 2011 is going to be very exciting indeed.
Frankly, given the opportunity Frampton could rip the Commonwealth title from the grasp of Welshman Jamie Arthur in his next outing but therein lies the rub. Manager McGuigan's next obstacle will be the politics of boxing as he seeks to move his young star to the next level, so a Celtic title defence in February back at the Ulster Hall may have to do.
McGuigan said: “We’d be happy to fight for the Irish title if it was available but we could be looking at British or European level already.
“I won’t put him in for titles if I don’t think he’s ready. I’d like a Celtic title defence next.
“We would be delighted to fight Paulie Hyland, Davie Savage or any of the guys eligible for the Celtic title.
“Carl makes a statement every time he fights and that was the objective.
“People are beginning to believe what I've been telling them.
“This kid can do it; with sensible steps he's going a long way.”