By Tré Berry III🖋️
Every once in a while, we’d like to do a segment called “Things We’ve Noticed” in highlighting some in-fight tactics, vulnerabilities, and observations that tend to go unnoticed, or are seldom talked about. Today we want to shed the spotlight on 🇬🇧Carl Frampton vs. 🇬🇧Josh Warrington.
An aspect of Warrington’s skills that are rarely discussed is that given his propensity to come forward and maul you with his style, he has impeccable footwork, not only to get inside to work, but to also get on his toes and circle the ring to box periodically.
It was on full display last Saturday, as he would rough Frampton up on the inside, then picked and chose his spots to bounce back outside and have Frampton chase him, leaving Frampton looking confused, and even stuck in the mud sometimes.
Most of the time, when a fighter has the style that Warrington has, it often comes off visibly as being very crude, but there’s a sophisticated method behind his work, between the footwork, tenacity, and boxing IQ he possesses, which is why we need to start viewing him in a higher light as a fighter.
Carl Frampton shows no signs of slowing down, but one thing that has been apparent in watching him work at this weight class, given his stature and fighting style, is that he’s a little small for the Featherweight division. For all fighters who venture up in weight, there is a cap-weight where size begins to be a detriment to a level where your boxing skills start to get compromised, and it appears this is Featherweight for him.
Of course the natural inclination after hearing this is to say “wait a minute, he beat Leo Santa Cruz, who is a big Featherweight at this point”, but keep in mind in their first bout, Santa Cruz fought crouched down. He lunged in while firing his power shots and exposing his chin, which is an absolute no-no against a counterpuncher of Frampton’s caliber, and he made him pay for his mistakes, making Frampton’s job easier.
In the re-match, Santa Cruz fought much more disciplined, and fought his size, to where you could see Frampton was handcuffed in his options of attack.
Where it was really evident was his all-out bout against Horacio Garcia, who mauled Frampton the whole fight and stayed in his kitchen, making Frampton very uncomfortable.
The major difference between how Warrington fought Frampton, and how LSC fought Frampton the first time is that Josh stayed defensively responsible throughout the fight, maintained his balance, and tossed Frampton around on the inside, using his strength advantage while Frampton couldn’t consistently find opportunity to let clean shots off.
Even at this point, Frampton is still more of a natural Super-Bantamweight. Featherweight is where the money is, where the real critically acclaimed fights to go after are, so, despite being small, he has enough skills to bring to the table, to pair with a gutsy approach when trying to make big things happen.