British boxing’s most decorated fighter of the modern era, Ricky Hatton, has tipped rising star Carl Frampton for greatness after admitting he sees himself in the Irish ace.
The super-bantamweight faces off against Frenchman Jeremy Parodi this weekend in Belfast, in a fight which will see the victor get a shot at world title glory in their next bout.
Frampton’s star appeal was made even more apparent after the Ulsterman sold out Northern Ireland’s biggest indoor venue, the Odyssey Arena, with 8,500 tickets snapped up, in what will be only his 17th professional bout.
Hatton has now added his name to the long list of admirers, believing that the man dubbed, ‘The Jackal’, has all the attributes to not only win a world title but cement his place amongst the greatest Irish fighters ever.
“Frampton hasn’t won the world title yet but he’s on the door knocking. You never think it’s going to happen but [starting off] I wanted to emulate my heroes like Barry McGuigan, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Naseem Hamed, whose undercards I was boxing on at the time, said Hatton.
“I think Carl is a world champion in waiting, with the ability he has and the improvements he keeps making. He has the potential to be up there with some of the greatest boxers Ireland has ever had,” he said.
The former two-weight world champion enjoyed an illustrious career having tested himself against the very best, including superfights against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather and Filipino bulldozer Manny Pacquiao.
The Mancunian’s ability as a ticket seller was legendary but with Frampton’s ever growing fanbase, coupled with his desire to challenge the very best around, Hatton believes that they are two boxers cut from the same cloth.
“The thing I like about Carl is that I see very much of myself in him because of his ambition,” said Hatton.
“I didn’t just want to be a world champion I wanted to be the best in the division. Then when I became the best in the division I wanted to become the best in another weight division and then the best pound-for-pound.
“You can see that Carl has that same fearless hunger. As long as you have that fearless hunger you have half a chance, but Carl has more than just half a chance - he will most definitely become a world champion,” he said.
The 35-year-old has called on Frampton to be extra cautious when he gets in the ring on Saturday night warning that nothing will come easy.
However, should he gets past Parodi, then a host of opportunities await.
“He’s got a tough opponent but it’s an opponent he should beat”, said Hatton.
“It’s about opening the door for a world title shot, taking no chances, doing the job and impressing. There’s no easy fight at this level but he’s ready now.
“Every promoters going to want to deal with him when you see the crowds he pulls in everytime he fights in Belfast now,” he said.
“He’s got an exciting style so every world championship organisation and governing body will want Carl fighting for their title because he brings excitement, he brings the fanbase and so much to the table, and, most of all, he’s proved he’s ready now,” said Hatton.