By Keith Idec
Josh Warrington hasn’t put much stock in the three wins Carl Frampton has recorded since losing his rematch to Leo Santa Cruz.
Frampton defeated Horacio Garcia and Nonito Donaire by unanimous decision and Luke Jackson by technical knockout after Santa Cruz edged him by majority decision in January 2017. What that three-fight winning streak means entering their IBF featherweight title fight, well, Warrington’s not quite sure.
“Listen, over the years he’s looked very special,” Warrington said during a press conference Wednesday. “I’m not gonna just say it and lick his a** too much. But, you know, that’s just giving him credit as a fellow fighter – he’s looked special at times. Going off his recent performances, you know, it’s hard to say because they’re, like no disrespect to them opponents, but they’re not a Santa Cruz or that kind of level, I don’t think, personally. Nonito Donaire, a great champion, but probably past his best. Luke Jackson had never really been to that level, so you can’t really go too much off that. You know, Carl dealt with them in the way that he did. I’m not sure, but I’m prepared for the very best Carl Frampton.”
Belfast’s Frampton (26-1, 15 KOs) and Leeds’ Warrington (27-0, 6 KOs) will fight for Warrington’s IBF 126-pound championship Saturday night in the main event at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
The 28-year-old Warrington was pleased to hear Frampton, 31, explain how he has regained his hunger, an attribute he had lost while he was preparing for big fights against Santa Cruz. The defending champion remains bothered by Lee Selby saying that weight was a significant problem for him before their May 19 fight, which Warrington won by split decision at Elland Road Football Ground in Leeds.
“You know, it’s music to my ears that he’s saying that the hunger’s back, because I know that I’m getting the very best,” Warrington said. “I believe that he’s not that kind of guy anyway, to turn around and make excuses, like Lee did, you know, about the weight and everything else. Lee never complained about the weight when he was beating other guys and then, you now, ticket-seller, pillow-puncher Josh Warrington beats him and it’s a massive thing that’s affected him. So, it’s music to my ears that Carl’s feeling great, he’s in a real good place, mentally, and he’s up for it. And that’s what I want. Because I want to test meself against the very best Carl Frampton and the very best world champions.”
The card headlined by Warrington-Frampton will be streamed in the United States by ESPN+, starting at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. Warrington-Frampton will be the main event of a BT Sport Box Office show in the United Kingdom (£19.95; 6 p.m. GMT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.