Frampton primed for battle with the latest ‘Hitman’ – Chris Avalos

Victory will see the Belfast man set his sights on America

The Hitman was not happy with The Jackal – although it is tough to look convincing when you’re standing butt naked behind a towel in front of the other guy’s jeering supporters – especially in Belfast. As hospitable a city as it is, its hardier citizens are not inclined to let such a moment go unremarked. They didn’t.

Chris Avalos is a serious customer, one of those Californian-Mexicans with a record to match his nom de guerre – even if "Hitman" has worn as thin as tissue paper since the days of Tommy Hearns – and he is determined to make life difficult here on Saturday for Carl Frampton, whose Jackal tendencies are genuine.

Underpants party

Nevertheless, at the underpants party previously known as the weigh-in, in the Grand Ballroom of the

Europa Hotel


, the challenger for Frampton’s world title was scratching around for a bit of dignity.

Forced to shed his last fig-leaf to make the super-bantamweight limit of 8st 10lb (he was 4oz under), Avalos got dressed then was dressed down by the local hero in the stare-down, one of modern boxing’s tedious rituals.

“He looked nervous,” Frampton said later. “I could tell he was on edge, which is good. He said a few things and there was a bit of pushing, but that was about it. ”

For all the by-play that has gone on between them this week, it should be one of the best arguments the city has seen in a while.

Frampton has long since conquered Belfast. He showed in his rematch with the ridiculously hard Kiko Martínez in front of 16,000 fans last September in an arena built for the purpose at the Titanic Quarter, Belfast, that he had added patience to his power, scoring a virtual shutout over 12 rounds.

This fight is going indoors, at the Odyssey, which holds 11,000. Michael Buffer will. The Buffed One will be at the microphone for ITV on their return to the sport, and he received a reception yesterday nearly as raucous as that for Frampton.

If Frampton wins – as he should, probably inside the distance after a willing scrap – he will set his sights on America. Frampton wants to unify the super-bantam title by beating the superb Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux. That's ambition.

Guardian Service