Filmed in noir in the car park outside his gym, Chris Avalos(25-2, 19KO’s) told Michelle Joy Phelps from ‘Behind the Gloves’ how unconcerned he is about the dangers of facing IBF World super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton(19-0, 13KO’s) on February 28th. The fight will take place at the Odyssey Arena in Frampton’s hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he won the title by defeating Kiko Martinez for the second time in September.
Though he was only announced as the opponent a couple of months ago, Avalos says he has been keeping an eye on Frampton for much longer than that.
“I’ve been watching him actually for a whole year. There was this time my brother showed me a video of him. He was like, ‘Dude you need to watch him.’ So I sat down and watched two or three rounds, and I was like, ‘Why are you showing me this dude? Who is this guy?’”
Far from adding to the plaudits that Frampton has been receiving since coming into prominence two or three years ago, Avalos sees nothing laudable, or even notable about the newly-crowned champion’s abilities.
“I wouldn’t say anything concerns me, I mean nothing really. I’m not impressed at all, to be honest. I’ve fought fighters like him, and I’ve caught fighters with punches that I’ve seen landed on him, and I’ve knocked em’ out. He thinks being out there in his hometown the fans are going to save him, but it’s really just me and him in the ring so I don’t see how that’s gonna work on his side.”
These comments may come as a surprise to those who have seen Frampton in action; he is not what I would categorise as a run-of-the-mill fighter. His style is the result of a deep amateur breeding that obligates him to land his own shots while avoiding most of what is coming back. His accuracy is coupled with an obvious power, and he can go up through the gears and noticeably increase his punch output if and when it is required. He is effective when pressing the attack or off the back foot, and showed in his two bouts with Martinez that he can cope with sustained pressure.
I suppose he is less impressive to a fellow pro than to a spectator though, especially a one who is about to challenge for his title, and, therefore, unwilling to create a monster for his thoughts to face. Also, Avalos let it be known that he had sparred with multiple belt-holder and pound-for-pound prince Guillermo Rigondeaux in the past, so perhaps that experience has gone some way to strengthening his resolve on this matter.
This will be Avalos’s first attempt at a world title, and he says it is that thought more than his upcoming opponent that motivates him.
“Frampton, he doesn’t worry me. The title is what’s like ‘dang, it’s finally coming home. Most people will mistake excitement for nervousness, but I know I’m excited, I’m ready.”