Carl Frampton knocks Hugo Cazares out in second round
By David Kelly
Carl Frampton rose to the occasion in emphatic fashion when he crushed the threat of Hugo Cazares inside two rounds of their WBC super-bantamweight title final eliminator at the Oddysey Arena last night.
Carl Frampton stopped Hugo Cazares in the second round of their title eliminator fight at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast
Before 9,000 Frampton maniacs, the 5ft 5’ 122lb fighting machine rubber stamped his World title credentials by dismantling two-weight champion Cazares with a cocktail of blistering handpseed and monumental power.
The end came at 1:38 of the second round following a sweeping left hook to the Mexican’s temple, which disconnected his senses and sent his legs into a drunken dance before he hit the canvas.
Clearly shaken up, Cazares was on one knee while referee Victor Loughlin gave the count and it appeared at one stage that he would rise to continue but instead failed to beat the count.
The pride in the former world light-flyweight and super-flyweight champion – ranked number one by the WBC going into the fight – led him to offer a protest to referee Loughlin but it was significant that his cornermen did not back up his suggestion of a premature stoppage.
Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan immediately stated that negotiations for the showdown with Santa Cruz would now be cranked up over the coming weeks.
“Carl has shown again that he has world class power. The last time this guy was stopped was in 1999 which says a lot. This is what Carl can do to the best fighters in the division and now we are the mandatory challenger for Santa Cruz,” said McGuigan.
“There’s a lot of negotiations ahead and we’ll have to see whether the fight can be brought to Belfast or if we have to travel to America.
“We really want to bring it to Belfast because the fans here deserve it. The support is second to none and we are looking at Ravenhill or an outside venue at the King’s Hall, the Balmoral Showgrounds.
“I’ve said it all along, this guy is the real deal and the people here know their boxing and they know that he is the genuine article. I have to give a lot of credit to my son Shane for the shape that he has got Carl in.
“He had a great camp, we had some great sparring and he was in the best shape possible and he gave another world class performance.”
Carl Frampton beats Hugo Cazares in two rounds
Carl Frampton secured a sensational second-round knock-out win over Hugo Cazares in the WBC super-bantamweight title eliminator in Belfast.
Frampton's devastating left-hook floored the 36-year-old Mexican who appeared to mistime the 10-count before getting up.
It was the first time Cazares had been stopped since losing to compatriot Gerson Guerrero in October 1999.
Frampton, 27, will now be in line for a crack at WBC champion Leo Santa Cruz.
"We are going to make an outstanding proposal to Santa Cruz financially and hopefully he will come over to Belfast," said Frampton's manager Barry McGuigan.
"The sooner we can get it on the better.
"He has got morals and I believe he genuinely wants to fight Carl. It is all about sitting down and hammering out the deal."
Frampton, who has now won all 18 professional fights, including 13 inside the distance, said: "That was a big shot that hurt him and it shows the power I have.
"I just threw it and it landed and that was game over.
"The support has been fantastic. I have the loudest bunch of supporters in Europe without doubt."
On a future fight with Santa Cruz, Frampton added: "He wants to be in blockbuster fights and me against him would be huge.
"It is the most exciting fight out there right now and I think he will want it even more now."
Carl Frampton floors Hugo Cazáres with second-round knockout win
• Carl Frampton wins super-bantamweight title eliminator
• Belfast fighter in line for world title fight with Leo Santa Cruz
Jonathan Drennan at the Odyssey Arena
Carl Frampton celebrates after his victory over Hugo Cázares. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images
In the shadow of the Titanic's slipway in Belfast, the super bantamweight Carl Frampton launched an unassailable campaign for his long-awaited shot at the WBC title with a stunning second-round knockout win against Hugo Cázares in their title eliminator.
The Odyssey Arena, normally a genteel music venue, was transformed into a pulsating and intoxicating fighters' arena packed to capacity with a deafening crowd as Frampton flattened the Mexican who appeared to misjudge the count.
Frampton's appeal remains universal in a divided city. His posters are spread in every pocket of Belfast, bringing new boxing fans in their thousands, enchanted by their hero from Tiger's Bay.
Cázares, a former two-weight world champion, arrived in Belfast unfazed and focused. He had fought 49 fights before this and at 36 years old was considered a wily and awkward opponent. Cázares was the final piece of a puzzle that Frampton needed to complete before his expected world title bout against Leo Santa Cruz.
Frampton understands and appreciates the lofty expectations from fans impatient for a world title, but he refuses to succumb to feeling any pressure. Before the fight, he was placed deep in the caverns of the Odyssey. He sat with a picture of his young daughter Carla, listening blissfully to soothing sounds of Sam Cooke.
When he eventually emerged from this peaceful cocoon, he walked, he emerged into a wall of noise. Jackie Wilson's "Your Love Takes Me Higher" was chosen for his ring walk, an incongruous song for a boxing fight perhaps, but perfect for a fighter who has such a close relationship to his fans.
Despite being nine years older, Cázares entered the ring lean and in prime condition. The Mexican was last stopped in 1999 and despite earning his reputation in the flyweight ranks, he was ranked above Frampton. Frampton believed Cázares as his hardest fight based on his ability to switch hit at will.
The opening round confirmed Frampton's respect for his opponent. Intelligently and slightly tentatively, Frampton used his left jab to work out Cázares. Each time a jab was successful, feathery or not, the crowd pounded its feet and chanted "easy". Cázares remained awkward but posed little physical threat. By the end of the first round, Frampton had completed his brief research dossier on the Mexican: he concluded this would be an easier night than expected.
Frampton's work-rate increased noticeably in the second round, understanding that Cázares was a shadow of the fighter who promised so much. The round included a piece of unintentional pantomine when both fighters got their legs entangled and Cázares insisted on doing an elaborate set of yoga stretches to the annoyance of the crowd.
The crowd did not need to wait long for the desired drama to arrive. Frampton achieved some success with hooks to Cázares' head before a vicious left hook toppled him. Immediately as the Mexican lay crouched, Frampton let a right hook fly, missing the former champion's head by inches. The referee counted a crumpled Cázares down. The night was over.
Cázares claimed that he misheard and misunderstood the count. His argument appeared hollow when the referee was using his fingers as well as his voice.
Frampton was understandably elated with his short night's work: "It was a great performance, he says he misread the count, but that's not true. Let's look onwards and upwards to bigger and better things."
Bigger and better things will now almost certainly mean a world title fight against Santa Cruz. The tuxedoed section of American visitors from Golden Boy Promotions present will have watched Frampton's vicious demolition job with interest.
Barry McGuigan, Frampton's celebrated manager, realises the biggest fight his team will face may be at the negotiation table. He is desperate to bring Santa Cruz over to Belfast, to reward the city's fans. However, an Irish invasion of America looks more likely. "The Jackal" has boxing gloves and will travel.