By Ed Leahy
Barry McGuigan belives that Carl Frampton will have to go to war with Kiko Martinez to become world champion in Belfast on Saturday night.
Super-bantamweight champion Martinez is putting his IBF world title on the line as he comes to Belfast to fight local boy Frampton and McGuigan believes that his boxer will have to go toe to toe with the Spaniard to become world champion.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport ahead of the fight, McGuigan said: “Martinez is coming here with real vengeance and he wants to redeem himself. He wants to knock Carl Frampton out and embarrass him. He has said some pretty horrible things to Carl and Carl is really fired up for this fight.
“Frampton is in great shape but he needs to do the business and it’s going to be a very, very tough fight for him."
The vengeance that McGuigan speaks of is the 2013 encounter between these two fighters at the Odyssey Arena, also in Belfast, where Frampton enjoyed a ninth-round knock-out victory in a bruising encounter with Martinez.
And former world champion McGuigan, who now works as Frampton’s manager, believes that this fight will require the challenger to be at his best.
McGuigan said: “This fight will be equally as tough if not tougher. That’s what we are expecting and that is what we have prepared for. We know Martinez is in great shape and he has been sparring Lee Selby, the European featherweight champion, who is a very good fighter.
“Kiko will come more fired up than before. He will be determined to win and it will be an equally exciting fight.
“He will walk Carl down, because he can’t change. He can’t change and suddenly become a Sugar Ray Leonard and moving and dancing around the ring. He has to fight aggressively that’s his style. And the contrast in style make for a great fight.”
But McGuigan is convinced that Frampton has the tools to deal with Martinez’s all-out attacking approach and the Belfast fighter will mix up his own boxing styles to take the belt from the hard-hitting champion.
“Carl will have to fight off the back foot and off the front foot at different times during the fight,” added McGuigan. “On this occasion, he’ll have to start off boxing and treat this guy with respect and using his boxing skills and using his movement.
“And then at some stage during the fight he is going to have to hold his feet and start trading with Kiko, and we’ll see what happens. He’ll be pushed very hard.
“But I believe he will win and I believe that he will win in spectacular style.”
"Kiko will come more fired up than before. He will be determined to win"
McGuigan fought for his own world title back in 1985 when he defeated Eusebio Pedroza at Loftus Road in London to claim the WBA World Featherweight title and the Clones Cyclone has used that experience to help Frampton prepare for Saturday night.
“I’m trying to impart those experiences about what it’s going to be like when the pressure is on,” said McGuigan.
“But he has got used to the pressure as it has been an incremental thing. Each time the pressure gets a little bit greater and this is the remarkable thing about Frampton, he thrives on pressure. He loves an audience.
“It doesn’t incapacitate him, it enlivens him, it makes him full of vigour and wanting to do well.
“There is an element of showman about him, there’s no doubt about, that but he's a lovely very solid kid. Confident but not arrogant. Knows his capabilities but not conceited.
“It’s a great combination to have. He’s a unique individual and he’s a hell of a fighter. And he’ll need to be because this is going to be an all-out war.”