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Frampton/Donaire - The Battle Of Belfast

Who will emerge victorious in a bout with more than the WBO Interim Featherweight Title on the line?

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As a fan of our great sport of boxing, I really like watching the smaller weight classes. But as a journalist I LOVE THEM. Throughout the opening months of 2018, we have seen the Super-flyweight, super-welterweight, super-lightweight and of course the heavyweight division placed firmly under the microscope. New champions have been crowned, new stars born and a whole heap of blood, sweat, and tears lost in the pursuit of personal glory and worldwide recognition.

But as the year rolls on it is now the turn of the 126-pound division to take centre stage. Yes, ladies and gentleman this coming weekend the featherweight’s come into town, and over the next two months the world title picture, like the other divisions I have mentioned will become ever clearer. We’ve already had a taste of the kind of action the featherweights can provide.

Oscar Valdez and Scott Quigg have already put on what must surely be a fight of the year candidate in an absolute war in Carson City. Neither man left anything to chance in a fight that will no doubt have left scars that both pugilists will wear mentally as well as physically. Valdez proved too strong for Quigg on the night. But the consequences of battle have led to this Saturday's bout is all the more interesting.

Live from the SSE Arena in Belfast, and Live on BoxNation for the viewers watching at home. Hometown hero and former world champion, Carl Frampton will battle it out with Filipino legend and former world champion himself, Nonito Donaire. But Aaron, why is this fight so interesting? Well, Valdez’ injuries have rendered him inactive for most of the year. His battle with Quigg leaving him needing his jaw wired shut for a number of weeks. So the WBO have made this bout for the ‘interim’ featherweight title.

Are you still with me? Good. Let’s get down to the real nitty gritty stuff.

For me, Frampton is still in the process of rebuilding following his loss to Santa Cruz at the beginning of 2017. In his return bout against Horacio Garcia he looked less than his best, and I'm being kind in saying that. Yes, he won on his return from defeat, but he was made to work hard and foolish at times. BUT, at his brilliant best, and the Frampton we saw in the first Santa-Cruz fight. Carl Frampton is one of the best featherweights in the world today and one of the best the united kingdom has to offer. He has had another camp with new trainer, Jamie Moore and the buzz in that particular gym grows louder and louder as Moore has well and truly found his feet as a trainer.

His challenger at one time was one of the best to put on a pair of gloves. The Filipino Flash was once touted as the next Manny Pacquaio and has won world honours in five different weight divisions. My biggest question mark for him is not to do with his skill. But his size. Donaire attempted a tilt at 126 before. Yes, he won a world title but got beat by Jessie Magdeleno in the following fight. For me, featherweight is too far a stretch for a man that began life in the 112-pound division. But at 35 the chances are he can no longer make 122 without killing himself.

My prediction?

Neither man will have to go looking for one another that is for sure. However, I have to side with the hometown fighter. Frampton for me will be too fresh, too big and too eager to put on a performance In Belfast. Keen to put his last performance behind him I see Frampton stopping Donaire in the late rounds.