Release The Jackal – Luke Jackson and Windsor Park to bring the best out of Carl Frampton


By Jonny Stapleton

‘The Jackal’ nickname has its roots in the infamous Venezuelan from the 1970s and you can be sure a disgruntled Carl Frampton has a killer instinct.

The former two-weight world champion’s humour, humility, and ‘ordinary bloke’ approach – not to mention his talent – has seen him become a massive Belfast favourite with stadium sell out capabilities.

However, the good guy that won hearts is rarely present in the ring and there have been times when the 31-year-old has had a real taste for blood.

Such is the now Jamie Moore-trained fighter’s talent that he is always a formidable foe, even at elite world level, but it is the times when the eye of the tiger is noticeable in the Tigers Bay native when he has produced his most devastating performances.

There has been a glint in the eye off Frampton throughout the build up to his dream fight at Windsor Park. The realisation of a dream has the fan favourite excited, but that glint can be turned into a glare when his opponent’s name is dropped.

If Frampton was to be believed, not even Tyson Fury, who fights on his undercard, could beat him at the home of the Northern Irish football team he passionately supports – so the relatively unknown name of Luke Jackson hasn’t been causing him sleepless nights.

However, the Australian visitor has been vocal in the build up and played his part in selling the fight with barbs sent the way of his fellow featherweight.

frampton jackson

The Belfast man is adamant Jackson’s ‘weight’ and ‘past his best’ comments haven’t got under his skin, but they certainly pinched the flesh enough to bring out that bit of needle – and if history is anything to go by, the 2012 Olympian may be lying painfully on the canvas, cursing his own mouth tonight.

Jackson may be looking to the fact Nonito Donaire brought about a lovely celebration of boxing, prompting one big Belfast love-in before losing, and decided the opposite approach may pay dividends.

However, any fighter that has shown apparent ‘disrespect’ or said things Frampton and, as a result, his fans took umbrage with have been dispatched with disdain.

There have been occasions when you can see ‘The Jackal’ revelling in taking offence, guzzling it down like a protein shake he doesn’t quite like the taste of, but knows will fuel him to perform better.

Come fight week, on the occasions he has taken on a verbal foe, he allows the tension to grow and even plays his part in building it. Rather than feed off the crowd at the press conference and weigh in, he almost feeds them tastes of raw meat knowing that, come ring walk time, they will be baying for blood and will let his opponent know.

This approach was most obvious ahead of both Kiko Martinez fights and Frampton’s first world title defence versus Chris Avalos.

Although they are now friends and have huge respect for each other, there was genuine bad blood between a man that now rivals Donaire for the most liked and respected away fighter to have fought on these shores and home favourite Frampton.

Martinez and Frampton had verbally sparred in the press for sometime before a European title was eventually on the line with both in the ring come February 2013.

frampton v kiko

With Martinez accessible to Irish media having fought here so many times, he used connections to question then young prospect and the lack of English held by ‘Mini Tyson’ didn’t prevent the top tables from being entertaining.

Body language said it all and it appeared as if Frampton was feeding off the bad blood like a pugilistic vampire.

Come fight night, the Belfast fighter produced a coming of age performance and stopped the Spaniard, who up and until that point was most remembered for stopping Bernard Dunne in 61 seconds.

Martinez bounced back and then some. The Alicante warrior went on to win a world title Frampton was targeting and defended it twice all thanks to stoppage wins.

He returned to Belfast with three brilliant wins in his pocket and one Sergio Martinez on his side. He claimed he was fitter, stronger, happier, healthier and would reverse his defeat this time around.

Again verbals were exchanged and again bad blood seemed apparent, but in a purpose built stadium on the Titanic Slipway, ‘The Jackal’ managed to dethrone the champ.

There was no knockout this time round, but Frampton never looked in any trouble as he outclassed an in-form, dangerous puncher who came full of talk and confidence to realise his world title dream.

However, it was the champ’s next fight that Jackson should really take notice of.

Avalos certainly came to Belfast with a confrontational approach. In fact his whole team did – Mrs. Avalos spat chewing gum at ‘The Jackal’ and his manager was keen to explain how every taxi driver in the city was hoping for an Avalos win.

The fighter himself was full of talk, labelled Frampton a silver spoon kid, and laid hands on the defending champion come weigh-in time.

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The approach backfired greatly as a disgruntled Frampton produced an anger-fuelled demolition job on the highly-rated American challenger.

In front of a fired-up Odyssey Arena crowd, a humbled Avalos was stopped in the fifth after being broken down and dominated.

There were suggestions post fight that if the challenger had been more courteous the then-IBF super bantamweight champ may have showed more patience and he may have made it later into the fight.

Now, Frampton is three years older and wiser, but it would seem that ‘The Jackal’ still remains and Luke Jackson will feel the full force of this in a few hours time.

Depending on how many rounds Tyson Fury carries Francesco Pianeta pre Frampton-Jackson, event promoter Frank Warren may want the fight to go into the latter rounds.

However, if previous bad blood build-ups are to go by, Frampton will be keen to inflict damage as early as possible – and Jackson may regret his build-up approach.

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