IRELAND and indeed the World-considering the bout was been broadcast to a potential 200 million TV audience- inhaled in collective shock as Carl Frampton hit the deck twice in the first round of his second World title defence in El Paso.
However, after holding that breath for 12 rounds the Jackal Army exhaled a cheer of delight as the Belfast man retained his IBF super bantamweight title via a wide 115-109, 116-108, 116-108 points decision.
This was meant to be the clash were Frampton showed the American public his guile, talent and exciting punching power and while most of those quality were on display as the fight wore on he had to show guts, character, determination and an ability to adapt early on.
The extremely popular fighter had planed to make America sit up and take note something he most certainly achieved by winning an exciting dust up, but that was never the manner in which he planned to grab World wide attention.
Barry McGuigan, who lost his World title in an afternoon show in America, warned that despite suggestions otherwise Alejandro Gonzalez Jr was a dangerous challenger.
The Mexican son of a former World Champion wasn’t long in backing up The Clones Cyclone’s words dropping Frampton with two flash first down knock downs. Frampton looked more surprised than shook, but the shock was added to for fans by the fact as Frampton was jumping back to his feet rival Scott Quigg was jumping around the ring after knocking out none other than Kiko Martinez.
Frampton was possibly a little to eager to please and Shane McGuigan looked to calm things down when he returned to the corner.
‘The Jackal’ took the second round, but Gonzalez Jr still looked game and dangerous. The smaller man established a jab, changed the game plan and boxed from range impressively in the third. A point deduction after a Gonzalez low blow canceled out one of the knock downs and Frampton began to take control over the middle rounds.
It wasn’t as classy as the punch perfect display against Kiko Martinez or as destructive as the Chris Avalos defence, but Frampton was the more skillful, accurate and accomplished fighter. The Belfast man had to consult his boxing ability and showed ring intelligence and experience to bank rounds four to eight.
However, the home fighter wasn’t going anywhere and stated a claim for round 9 and landed another left hook and a right hand which Frampton to his credit took well.
After two low blows went unpunished in round 10 the referee finally deducted a second point from Gonzalez Jr in round 11 to further ease the nerves of Frampton fight fans.
Keep it long warned Shane McGuigan, Frampton’s coach, going into the last, but Frampton came out firing and landed an impressive combination early on, before a right hand and a hook to the body told Gonzalez Jr not to bother looking for the knockout.
Finally the Cyclone Promotions fighter’s hand was raised after the final bell, but despite the come from behind manner of the win’The Jackal’ didn’t seem in celebratory mood. Such are the high standards the World champ sets himself he was disappointed in his performance. He wasn’t overly keen to make excuses and praised ‘Warrior’ Gonzalez Jr, but did claim the American soft canvas caused him trouble and did admit he had to cut alot of weight in fight week.