Barry McGuigan claims unheralded Mexican Andres Gutierrez presents the perfect comeback challenge for Carl Frampton as the two-weight world champion looks to bounce back from his first defeat this weekend.
Belfast native Frampton fights in his home city for the first time in two and a half years on Saturday night when he takes on 24-year-old Andres Gutierrez, who carries a 35-1-1 record.
The bout will also see the Irishman return to the ring following his rematch loss to Mexican-American Leo Santa Cruz last January, Frampton’s first professional defeat.
The bookies have priced Gutierrez as a 10/1 underdog, despite the fact that ‘Jaguarcito’ has only suffered one loss — a majority points defeat to former world super-flyweight champion Cristian Mijares — while the Mexican also has height and reach advantages over the 1/25 home favourite.
However, Frampton’s manager McGuigan reckons the 24-year-old visitor presents a live challenge — something he insists his protégé needs on his comeback, which will be screened live on Channel 5.
“First of all, he’s a dangerous opponent,” said McGuigan. “What happens when many guys get defeated, they go and fight someone sloppy who doesn’t present a real danger and often they perform poorly as a result.
“Carl is switched on, he understands we need to put him in with a test again to get him sharp again. It’s a different style than Santa Cruz, but not an awful lot different in the sense that they’re both attacking fighters.
“This guy [Gutierrez] is probably a bigger specimen, heavier handed but not as complete a fighter all round, so it’s very much a very good opponent for Carl. It’s a fight he needs to be focused and get motivated for.
“Gutierrez has got a great chin and I think it’s going to be a sensational fight.
“That will just enliven Carl and rev him up again.”
Having tasted defeat for the first time against Santa Cruz, whom he defeated in their first bout last year, Frampton’s record was blemished to 23-1 as a result.
McGuigan himself returned to action after two career losses — to Peter Eubank and Steve Cruz — before a 1989 defeat to Jim McDonnell led to his retirement and the ‘Clones Cyclone’ insists his 30-year-old protégé has the desire to learn and improve on his sole career loss.
“When you lose as narrowly as he did… you saw what happened with Santa Cruz, who bounced back and was more alert and better tactically the second time,” noted McGuigan. “Carl has got to show he can do the same.
“I know Carl will be sharper, better and more focused in the next fight with Santa Cruz, but we have to do this first [on Saturday]. We’ve been preparing Carl for a long, difficult night’s work and we have to be on the ball.”
A Frampton victory is likely to set up another world-title bid later this year. A rematch with Santa Cruz is his preferred option, although bouts against WBC champion Gary Rusell Jr and IBF title holder Lee Selby of Wales are other possibilities.
Meanwhile, Katie Taylor hopes to impress on her US debut in Brooklyn this weekend. The Bray native competes in her sixth pro fight on Saturday, taking on Texan journeywoman Jasmine Clarkson over eight rounds on the undercard of a light-welterweight clash between Mikey Garcia and Adrien Broner at the Barclays Center.
“New York has been very good to Irish fighters in the past and hopefully I can give people something to shout about,” said Taylor.
“Hopefully I can get another good win and win a world title later in the year before coming back to New York again at some point as a world champion to defend my title,” added Taylor, who features on the Brooklyn bill alongside Cork welterweight Noel Murphy.
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