Josh Warrington [27(6)-0] claims he has been preparing to face a prime ‘Jackal’ this Saturday night – but the Leeds fighter doubts Carl Frampton is in the right state of mind and predicts retirement for the Belfast man after this weekend.
Warrington promised that he has nothing but respect for the former two-weight world champion ahead of the first defence of his IBF featherweight title this weekend, yet has suggested on a number of occassions that the Frampton who dominated Kiko Martinez, cruised against Scott Quigg, and beat three-weight world champion Leo Santa Cruz is no more.
Despite the suggestions, and indeed the belief, held by the 28-year-old, he states that he has been preparing as if he was facing the best version of the Ulster fighter this weekend.
Warrington, who believes Frampton [26(15)-1(0)] has got tetchy in recent weeks, also thinks that Frampton’s awareness of retirement could spell disaster.
“Carl has seen his arse a bit with some stuff I have read but there are tensions when the fight gets close,” Warrington said at the final press conference.
“I have been preparing for Carl at his prime and that excites me to graft my backside off.”
“I’m not going into this fight thinking he’s done – I’d be a fool. My mentality has been this is the best Carl Frampton turning up.”
However, despite this, and claims from Frampton that he is enjoying boxing more than ever, Warrington does feel that a loss could spell the end for the Irishman.
The former English, British, Commonwealth, and European champion outlined how the “only thing he can do [if he loses] is move up to super featherweight and maybe have maybe a big fight with James Tennyson. That’s the only potential fight he could have, a big Belfast one.”
“If he loses to me after downplaying some of my wins it will be embarrassing. He can turn round and say ‘Josh is a good fighter, he deserves this, he’s a world champion and it’s no disgrace’ but I think it will be his pipe and slippers moment.”
“Let’s have it right, he did that documentary ‘Return of The Jackal’ and there were about five minutes where he was talking about retirement. He’s mentioned it many times.”
“You retire because you had a £10 million fight or you don’t want to get punched in the head anymore, but you should want to create a legacy – which he says he wants to do. When you’re on the top of your game you shouldn’t be thinking of that.”
“It will be there subconsciously when it comes to the later rounds. Okay, he’s had a good camp but when your arms are full of lactic acid and you’ve gone past the physical state, you’re looking for any little thing to push you on. He won’t have that anymore.”
Like Frampton, while not overlooking Saturday’s clash, the Yorkshireman has ambitions beyond the Manchester Arena.
“I have gained confidence and momentum from beating Lee Selby and I will find new levels this weekend,” he added before stressing a desire to fight WBO champion Oscar Valdez next.
“People say I should have had a steady defence, but I want the best and after this I’ll go to the States and fight the likes of Oscar Valdez.”
““I want the big fights. I believe I’m capable of beating any featherweight. I want to fight the best and talk of unification excites me. I wouldn’t want a steady one after this one either.” #