Talk to Carl Frampton about his coach Shane McGuigan and it’s clear that ‘The Jackal’ holds the man who is two years his junior in high regard.
Ireland’s first ever unified World champion always highlights the role the former Ulster Champion has played in his unprecedented success.
Indeed, the undefeated Belfast fighter was predicting that big names would come calling well before Frampton defeated Kiko Martinez to make McGuigan the youngest ever lead-coach of a World champion.
Just like McGuigan’s pre-fight predictions, Frampton’s forecast proved right. Former heavyweight champion of the World David Haye teamed up with the progressive coach and was followed by another former Adam Booth fighter George Groves.
Once the big named and experienced pair arrived there were those suggesting McGuigan’s credentials would really be tested.
Most would argue he proved himself coaching Frampton to World success, showing big fight capabilities and putting tactical plans in place to beat the likes of Martinez, Chris Avalos, Scott Quigg and, maybe most impressively, turning the fight around against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr following a disastrous first round.
The doubters, however, argued that a unique relationship with Frampton played its part and even hinted that the fighter’s, who challenges Leo Santa Cruz for a featherweight World title in July, talent was the key component to his success.
Some even suggested quite openly that pressure and lack of experience might get to the coach if he was in big fights with other big names.
However, questions regarding McGuigan’s capabilities and youth can no longer be asked after he oversaw a comfortable win for George Groves against Martin Murray on a massive PPV card last Saturday.
Groves, a fighter whose confidence looked damaged after two knockout defeats to Carl Froch and third failed World title tilt against Badou Jack, has looked reborn under McGuigan.
St Helen’s scrapper Murray was meant to test him on Saturday, even beat him, but Groves registered a wide 118-110, 118-110, 118-110 points win by implementing McGuigan’s gameplan.
The result initially might not look too relevant to Irish fighting outside the fact that McGuigan is much-loved and respected, particularly in Belfast.
However, in terms of the biggest fight of Frampton’s life, and one of the biggest fights in recent Irish boxing history, it could prove massive. ‘The Jackal’ goes into his World title showdown, which will be broadcast live on Showtime with his faith in McGuigan further justified.
Granted he always trusts his coach’s gameplan, but there will be no doubts that his trainer has the capabilities of creating a strategy that will help in the potential dethroning the undefeated three-weight World champ.
McGuigan remains unbeaten as a coach, and has won every fight he has been in the corner for – bar Conrad Cummings highly entertaining draw with Alfredo Meli. That in itself will give the coach further confidence, and can only be a plus as he prepares the history-maker as they attempt to make the World sit up and take note.