It’s been one hell of a ride for Carl Frampton. He was already a two-weight world champion, the first Northern Irishman to achieve the feat, and now the Belfast-born fighter is on the verge of boxing immortality and an almost guaranteed position in the boxing Hall of Fame if he can get past Jamel Herring at Caesars Palace in Dubai this weekend.
Down to earth and genuinely amiable, Frampton has lit up boxing arenas for more than a decade now and at 34 he doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon. On Saturday, ‘The Jackal’ takes on former US Marine Jamel Herring with the intention of snatching the American’s WBO super-featherweight, having already won super-bantamweight and featherweight titles in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Frampton has achieved more than most prizefighters could ever dream of in the ring. Aside from being a champion in multiple divisions, he’s also held European and Commonwealth titles, and has won Fighter of the Year gongs from The Ring, ESPN and the Boxing Writers’ Association of America. But while he may not be ready to hang up his gloves just yet in 2021, he’s still highly ranked and a major contender after all, one suspects that we’re about to embark on the twilight of his career.
Speaking ahead of this weekend's showdown, Frampton's trainer Jamie Moore told The Sportsman, in our new boxing series Outside The Ropes, "He's not just in better shape, but his mentality, the place he's at in his mind.
"This is probably his last fight, maybe one more after, but it's the biggest fight of his career. The first fighter from the whole of Ireland to be a three-weight world champion - it's legendary status, so there's a lot of pressure on his shoulders but he doesn't seem that way because you get the sense from him that this is that moment."
Frampton’s prowess may not be as sharp as it was, say in 2016, when he outmatched the very talented Leo Santa Cruz, but with another shot at a place in the history books on the line, you better believe Frampton is going to turn up to Dubai next month chomping at the bit to beat Herring.
On February 12, the Chinese New Year ushered in the ‘Year of the Ox’, but if he’s victorious over Herring this weekend, Frampton will secure his legacy as one of the best fighters to hail from the United Kingdom or Ireland, not only in recent memory, but ever. Say goodbye to the ox, instead strap yourself in and say hello to the ‘Year of the Jackal’.