Carl Frampton tops the bill at the SSE Odyssey Arena this Saturday, live on BT Sport, in a comeback homecoming ten-rounder.
One of the main supporting cast for ‘Frampton Reborn,’ alongside Jamie Conlan’s IBF super flyweight world title challenge, is South African Zolani Tete who defends his WBO bantamweight title against countryman Siboniso Gonya.
It has today been announced that Frampton and Tete will be joined in the venue by one of the biggest stars in world boxing – Canelo Álvarez [49(34)-1(0)-2].
The Mexican middleweight is a two-weight, three-time world champion and the poster boy for Golden Boy Promotions.
Known for his distinctive red hair (Canelo mean cinnamon in Spanish), it is often joked that the 27 year old has Irish ancestry, indeed he has said so himself in the past, and Álvarez will be confronted with more than a few flame-haired fans this weekend.
The reason for Álvarez’s trip to Belfast is the main event – with Garcia [33(24)-3(0)-1] being promoted by the superstar fighter.
Canelo also promotes another of his countrymen – Andres Gutierrez. ‘Jaguarcito’ was initially due to be Frampton’s homecoming opponent back in July, but their fight was called of the night beforehand, with Gutierrez suffering freak injuries following a slip in the shower. Alvarez had not made his way to Belfast for this fight
Frampton described how “it’s great that ‘Canelo’ will be ringside – it will add even more of a buzz to what’s already one of Belfast’s biggest ever fight bills. “But as much as I respect ‘Canelo’, he won’t have much to cheer about. Garcia is a good fighter and I’m not taking him lightly, but I have to beat him and I won’t be distracted from the task at hand.”
“If anything, this might put a bit of pressure on Garcia since he has Mexico’s most famous boxer and one of the sport’s biggest superstars is there to support him. It will surely weigh on his mind that he doesn’t want to get a beating in front of ‘Canelo’, but I plan on putting on a show for the Belfast public.”
“Garcia might have one big name cheering him on, but I have a whole city behind me. My fans have waited a long time for me to come back for a homecoming fight and I don’t want to disappoint them after all the support they’ve given me.”
Guadalajaran Alvarez last fought in September, holding unified middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin to a controversial draw. Talks are currently ongoing for a rematch, but negotiations have been arduous.
While ‘GGG’ holds three [WBC, WBA, IBF] of the major belts, Frampton’s new promotional stablemate Billy Joe Saunders is the possessor of the missing piece [WBO]. The English boxer, who dethroned Limerick’s Andy Lee, puts his strap on the line next month in Canada against Canelo’s stablemate David Lemieux