McGuigan reveals Frampton struggled in training – but now it feels like “the good old days”


In a few hours time, Carl Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] will step on the scales and a figure of 125-something pounds will be read out to a cacophony of cheers.

The Tigers Bay featherweight will then go face to face with upcoming opponent Andres Gutierrez, the Mexican may get a little too close, there could be a push or a shove, the atmosphere will swell, and ‘The Jackal’ will roar.

Carl Frampton is back.

…it’s all a bit different from the start of camp though.

Frampton returned to McGuigan’s Gym London after his first career defeat to Leo Santa Cruz out of shape and out of motivation. The 30 year old struggled through a large part of the camp before Frampton came alive down the home stretch.

Manager Barry McGuigan described how “he struggled in the first few weeks of training, like anything else it’s difficult to get back into the kick of it but the last two thirds of camp have been really impressive. He just come alive in the last three weeks. He is back to himself again.”

“I remember losing, not to just [Peter] Eubank but to [Steve] Cruz out in America. I had all this big legal issue that was terribly draining, my dad passed away, my brother was sick, it was a terrible time.”

“The training felt tough, getting back into the grind, dropping the weight, that in itself would make you depressed. Once you kicked back in again and you’re lean, and your body weight is down, the fat is trimmed, punches are flying over your head you suddenly have the bit between your teeth.”

“You can go from 60 per cent to 95 per cent in the last three weeks. It suddenly comes back and it has happened for him. He has looked fabulous.”

Coach Shane McGuigan seemed to echo Marvin Hagler’s famous quote “it’s hard to get up and run at 5am when you’re wearing silk pyjamas.”

The young trainer gave his take on Frampton’s struggles, noting that “he had the biggest lay-off in his career, probably put the most weight on.”

“When you’re getting paid a lot of money, consistently, and then you’re sort of going back on yourself, treading over old ground, you’ve got to work yourself back up and you feel like you’re only in this position because you’ve had a slight off night – you feel a bit hard done by.”

“I feel that Carl felt a bit hard done by at the start of camp. he had a bit of an off night, lost on a majority decision, he’s taking a little bit of a pay cut in that sense.”

“‘Do I really have to work my way back up again against young, hungry guys?'”

McGuigan feels these negatives have been flipped to positives during the camp and he outlined how “then, it sort of clicked – ‘well this is great, because it means that I can actually enjoy my boxing’ – that’s what I’ve sort of seen from him, especially in the last month.”

“When you’re three months out from a fight in a training camp, and you’ve got a lot of weight to shift, but then the weight starts to come off and the sparring gets easier and you see what you’ve got, then you get the spring back in your step.”

For McGuigan, there’s a warm sense of déjà vu in coming back to Belfast.

“It feels like the good old days,” he muses. “It feels like the Avalos fight – we were relishing a massive fight, we were relishing a good fight, we were relishing a Santa Cruz fight, he was calling him out.”

“We’re back to those sort of hungry days, going back to Monkstown Boxing Club, doing the same sort of sessions in the last week of camp, it’s nice.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie