Frampton -v- Avalos – BIG FIGHT PREVIEW

Frampton -v- Avalos – BIG FIGHT PREVIEW
By Joe O’Neill
This Saturday at the Odyssey Arena, Carl Frampton will defend his IBF super bantamweight title for the first time in front of an almost 9,000-strong partisan crowd. He faces the IBF #1 ranked challenger, Chris Avalos of the U.S.A., in a mandatory defence that promises to be an unmissable occasion. The tagline for the fight is The World is Not Enough and with the card fast approaching, is here to give you a comprehensive preview of what will hopefully be the first of many world title defences for ‘The Jackal’.
Chris Avalos – History
While perhaps not as recognisable a name as some of the other luminaries in the division, the 25 year old Californian represents a stiff test for Frampton. After a title-laden under-age amateur career, Avalos turned pro in 2008 at the age of 18 and has since amassed 25 wins (17 by knockout) with 2 split-decision losses. These losses came in 2010 to Chris Martin (a bout in which Avalos claims he was hampered by illness), and in 2011 against Jhonatan Romero of Columbia.
Romero may be familiar to some as the man Kiko Martínez defeated to win the IBF title that is now in the possession of Frampton. Avalos claims he was robbed in the fight with the Colombian – in reality it was a ridiculously close fight which the Californian probably just shaded. Since this loss, the Mexican-American has gone on a six fight win-streak which has elevated him to the top of the IBF rankings. 
The man from Lancaster, California, has spent a lot of time as a sparring partner in the world-famous Wild Card Gym and has mixed it with top-level fighters such as Guillermo Rigondeaux, Léo Santa Cruz, Scott Quigg and Daniel Ponce de León. This has led the thrash-talking Avalos to claim that he is not impressed by Belfast’s Frampton and that he has sparred better.
Chris Avalos – Style
‘The Hitman’ is a heavy-handed, orthodox, volume puncher who’s been known to throw over 100 shots a round and is constantly peppering the jab in his opponent’s face. Standing at 5’7” with a reach of 67.5”, the American holds a 2 inch height and 5.5 inch reach advantage over the smaller Frampton. These two factors, along with his granite chin, would seem to immediately earmark Avalos as a dangerous, awkward opponent for ‘The Jackal’.
However, going by his previous fights, there are several deficiencies in the American’s arsenal that Frampton will be hoping to exploit. While Avalos throws a lot of punches he is often quite sloppy and inaccurate as well as being susceptible to counters from all angles. Additionally he has a tendency to dive in recklessly, leaving himself open, although he may opt against this tactic on Saturday against the smaller Frampton.
Avalos also pays a lot of attention to the body although, against Martinez, Frampton has previously shown himself to be adept at dealing with assaults to the body. In terms of power, the fast-talking American is quite strong although perhaps without one-punch KO power and many of his recent stoppages have come from accumulation rather than one specific shot. Avalos also has a decent engine, although Frampton showed himself to be quite well-equipped in this area in his win against Martínez last September.
Avalos seems supremely confident entering the fight saying of Frampton that: “Nothing concerns me about the way he fights. I am not impressed at all. I’ve seen shots land on him, and if I had landed those shots he would be knocked out” and that “I am not going to lose. I am going win and it will not be by decision, obviously.”
Personally I see this bout going one of two ways. If Avalos fights like he has in previous fights we may see a mid to late rounds stoppage as he is just too easy to hit. KOing a man with a noted iron chin and who has never even been knocked down would constitute a massive statement from Frampton who has long claimed to be the hardest puncher in the division. However, if Avalos adjusts his gameplan for Frampton and tries to take a more tentative, scrappy approach and use his physical advantages, I can see the Belfast man outboxing him (a-la his win over Raul Hirales in 2011) and winning a very wide decision.
While Avalos is better than his 5/1 underdog status suggests, anything but a convincing win for the 1/9 favourite Frampton would be a massive shock. 
The Future
The fight will be shown live on ITV1 (with the undercard being on ITV4), in the channel’s first foray into world championship boxing since Carl Froch’s defeat of Jean Pascal back in 2008. An impressive victory in front of a television audience in the millions has the potential to catapult Frampton into super-stardom and give him greater power to secure future big fights.
With Avalos being a mandatory defence, a victory would secure Frampton some leeway to secure super-fights later in the year against Englishman Scott Quigg and/or WBC champion Leo Santa Cruz – Although ‘The Hitman’ should not be overlooked. Frampton has stated that Avalos is a “dickhead” and that “If I perform to my best then I win the fight, it’s as simple as that.” It’s hard to disagree with the Tiger’s Bay boxer.
The World is Not Enough: Carl Frampton -v- Chris Avalos is live on ITV1/UTV Ireland from 10:50pm this Saturday


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