By Ian S Palmer
There’s a pretty good featherweight tilt at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland this Saturday, November 18th as hometown hero and former champ Carl Frampton takes on Horacio Garcia of Mexico in a 10-round bout. Frampton last fought in January when he lost to Leo Santa Cruz by a majority decision in their rematch after Frampton won the first meeting. Garcia was last in the ring in September when he stopped Diuhl Olguin in the fourth round. The fight can be seen live in the UK on BT Sport and BoxNation.
The 30-year-old Frampton enters the ring with an impressive record of 23-1 with 14 Kos to his name. He’s fought 152 rounds since turning pro in 2009. The ex-champion stands 5-feet-5-inches tall and has a 62-inch reach. Frampton has pretty good power and his current knockout ratio stands at 58 per cent. He’s also got a decent chin, but has been on the canvas before. Frampton’s biggest-name opponents so far have been Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg, Kiko Martinez and former world champ Steve Molitor of Canada. This is just Frampton’s third bout in the 126 lb. division.
The 27-year-old Garcia has a fine record of 33-3-1 with 24 Kos. He’s 5-feet-6-inches tall with a 65-inch reach so has a slight height advantage of an inch and a three-inch edge in reach. He’s fought 196 rounds since turning pro in 2008 and has pretty good power with a current knockout ratio of 65 per cent. Garcia’s three losses have been against Hozumi Hasegawa by 10-round unanimous decision in May of 2015, 10 round unanimous decision to Joseph Diaz in December of 2016 and by an eight-round unanimous decision to Diuhl Olguin in May of this year.
Garcia’s lone draw was a 10-round affair with Erik Ruiz in May of 2016. Garcia is a former WBC Youth World Bantamweight Champion and has held some other minor and regional titles. His best wins have been against Fernando Lumacad, Jonathan Perez, Raul Hidalgo and Fernando Vargas. He’s a good boxer with pretty good power and has also shown a solid chin in the ring up to now. He should be a good test for Frampton, but will need to make sure he keeps his hands busy every round if he hopes to be successful.
Frampton was supposed to fight a few months ago against Andres Gutierrez, but that fight fell through after Gutierrez was injured when he slipped in the shower in his hotel room. Frampton might have a little ring rust to shake off, but Gutierrez and Garcia are a little similar as opponents, so he should be prepared for this Saturday. If Garcia isn’t intimidated by the Belfast crowd then this should be an entertaining and competitive bout.
Understandably, Frampton’s the favourite here, but he can’t take Garcia too lightly as he’ll be in for a pretty tough night if he does. Frampton is a solid boxer with a good arsenal of punches and isn’t one to lose his concentration in the ring though. He’s quite accurate with his punches, doesn’t waste many of them, and uses his jab to set up straight right hands and left hooks. He’s comfortable leading the way or counterpunching and his power is somewhat underrated. He’s expected to win this fight and win this fight he will, but it might be a bit more competitive than some fans expect.