FEATUREDHeadline NewsNewsTop News of The Day

Critics of Faded Frampton are missing the point

The ‘you see further through a tear than a telescope’ saying once delivered by Ray Moylette is a nod to sorrow and how pain can be used as a tool to self-improve.

In that regard, it’s not one that was meant to be applied to the kind of scenario that developed following Carl Frampton’s defeat in Dubai on Saturday gone.

Still, it’s one that sprung to mind watching the fallout of the towel ending, ‘The Jackal’s’ three-weight world champion hopes, and his career.

Certain quarters, particularly on social media, rejoiced in the demise and used it to poke fun of any Frampton ‘greatest Irish fighter’ claims.

On the other hand, the majority upset by the result looked through tears and saw a scenario magnified beyond one result.

That enlarged view will enable them to see Frampton retire an Irish fight legend.

The greatest we’ve had? Who knows? A win Saturday certainly would have strengthened his case. Paddy Barnes argued, when speaking pre-Saturday that, having achieved something no-one else had, Frampton would have cemented #1 status with victory but was open about how subjective such debates are.

What is clear is that Frampton enjoyed massive success, recorded huge wins, and forged a lasting legendary legacy. Where he may stand alone and stand out from others is what he achieved outside the ring.

What those laughing through tweets on Saturday night don’t understand is Frampton’s career has proved extremely important to boxing on this island.

If Belfast is, as some argue, the ‘capital city of European boxing’ Frampton was the city’s fight Major.

The Tigers Bay hero cultivated a support the envy of the world over, a mass following that had roots in his skill level, his down-to-earth approach, and the early doors passionate backing of a legendary name like Barry McGuigan.

That fan base ensured huge nights in Belfast. The Odyssey became known as his lair, a purpose-built stadium was errected for a world title fight, and Windsor Park was once packed to the rafters.

There was excitement, entertainment and exhilarating sports action on mass. The former two-weight world champion also represented us further afield ensuring an away day only comparable to those enjoyed by Irish football fans come major tournament time when he beat Scott Quigg and ensuring worldwide recognition with victory over Leo Santa Cruz in a Fight of the Year contender.

However, it was Belfast he had a special relationship with and a special impact on.

Frampton created an environment that allowed boxing to thrive in his home city despite the fact he turned over at the start of the global recession.

People will never forget those passionate, partisan, let’s party fight nights. More importantly, those fight nights we were all privileged to be a part of turned out to be more than just experiences secured in the happiest of memory banks, they had a massive impact in creating the positive scene that currently exists in Belfast – and Frampton’s is a career we will continue to reap the benefits of well into the future.

As stated Frampton brought massive nights to his home city, his fanbase and their desire to support him made that financially viable. Those fight nights entertained thousands and inspired a new generation of kids to take up the sport.

They also gave fighters from across Ireland the chance to show their wares to a larger audience, which in turn lead to bigger and better opportunities.

Belfast has always been a boxing hub but Frampton’s success also advertised the city to promoters of all sizes and the likes of Matchroom, Queensbury, Top Rank, Boxing Ireland, MHD, MTK and Alio Wilton have all run shows in the city over the last ten years.

‘The Jackal’ also made boxing attractive to the corporate market and maintained big media interest. The former unified super bantamweight world champ is a sports star rather than a known boxer, front page news, and hit such levels of fame his wife Christine became a celeb in her own right.

Compare the contrasting fortunes of boxing in Dublin to Belfast over the last decade and that impact becomes clear.

Granted there are a host of extenuating circumstances but during a decade were boxing down south struggled Frampton was shouldering a boom for the sport up North.

Even more impressively he managed to do as much without any gimmicks. Frampton was always himself a down to earth approachable competitor with the ability to galvanize a support and compete at the highest level. It took a special fighter to achieve what he achieved in the ring and a special man to hold the weight of Irish boxing on his shoulders for eight years, create such a following and create an environment that allowed boxing to thrive.

The greatest? In some eyes.
One of the most important? No doubt.
A legend? certainly.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com