Odysseys and ends

Cormac Campbell shares observations on last weekends action.

I have no idea how Breidis Prescott manages to squeeze his massive frame into the confines of the 140lb light-welterweight division.

And if promoter Eddie Hearn’s comments that the Columbian came to the ring around 160lbs are correct, then one wonders just how great a struggle the Khanqueror has with the scales. Indeed, Prescott was an hour late for Friday’s weigh-in at the historic Pump House in Belfast’s rapidly improving Titanic Quarter, presumably doing whatever it is he does to shift the last few ounces.

On Saturday night, even with 32 hours worth of fluids and nutrition, the 5’11” square-shouldered puncher still looked like he could easily carry an extra stone. But what is apparent is that Prescott is‘comfortably tight’ at the weight. Although he tired somewhat in later rounds, Prescott was still able to throw bombs for the entire contest and when he landed, the sheer power was there for all to see – whether it was in round one or 12.

There have been whispers in the past that McCloskey’s chin may not be the strongest of his considerable attributes, but given the ferocity of some of the shots he shipped, few could table such accusations now. What’s more, the Dungiven man’s heart is also beyond question. Dudey boxed for most of the fight with at best a blood-blocked nasal passage, at worst a swollen, painful and broken nose. Either way, this was an impediment that he adapted to and/or ignored as he clawed his way back into contention.

On paper Paul McCloskey will now fight for the WBA light-welter title in his next fight. But in boxing things are rarely that simple. Injuries, contractual wranglings, TV scheduling and countless other barriers can get in the way of best-laid plans. Fortunately McCloskey is a patient man, About four years ago a popular American boxing magazine labelled him the most over-protected 140lb prospect in the world. The accusation couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Until he stepped in at the very last minute to take a British title shot against Colin Lynes in December 2008, Dudey offered considerable risk and little reward for some of the division’s bigger names. It was ultimately his willingness to take a tough fight at the last minute that proved to be his big break. Since then he has jumped at every opportunity – and even in adversity, such as his well documented back problems and the controversial stoppage of his world title fight vs Amir Khan, he has remained calm and dignified. The same approach, coupled with his undoubted box office appeal, will undoubtedly see him secure a second bite of the cherry before long.

Carl Frampton may have picked up the first serious title of his career, but the newly installed Commonwealth super-bantam king is unlikely to believe he has made it just yet.

Frampton and his team had been preparing for a clash with the ever-dangerous Kiko Martinez for the European title and although they will be relieved that Mark Quon and the Commonwealth authorities stepped in to save the day after Martinez withdrew at late notice, they will be fully aware that victory over Quon does not hold the same weight as one over Martinez.

At ringside Scott Quigg told the media that whilst Frampton had comfortably dealt with Quon, he was none the wiser as to just how good his contemporary contender is. It is unlikely that we will have to wait too much longer for an answer to this question with manager Barry McGuigan and Frampton himself willing to take risks on the road to the top.

Quigg for his part intends on making a statement of intent next month when he faces Jason Booth for the British title. Whether the duo meet down the line remains to be seen, but it is certainly a mouthwatering proposition.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said after the action on Saturday night that he feels Frampton would benefit from further appearances as chief support on major shows – an approach would probably rule out a card topper such as Frampton v Quigg.

That said, Frampton’s newfound position as Commonwealth king and Quigg’s scheduled British clash put the duo on a collision course – at least when it comes to the overlapping rankings of both governing organisations.

John Campbell of the British Board confirmed after Frampton’s Commonwealth victory that the Celtic title previously held by Frampton is now up for grabs. It remains a shame that Southern Irish boxers such as Willie Casey and Paulie Hyland cannot contest the crown – despite being full blooded Celts.

The noise of the 6,100 crowd at the Odyssey was astonishing –particularly as the bell rang to begin the 12th round of the main event. At the arena we had a couple of thousand fans from Loyalist Tiger’s Bay supporting Frampton and virtually the entire population of the Nationalist Co Derry town of Dungiven following McCloskey. Two communities that are worlds apart, yet the united atmosphere at the Odyssey once again reinforced the peculiar reality of boxing in Ireland – that it takes fighting men to unite people.

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