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Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire Preview: A belt and futures on the line

Cian Carroll | 20 April 2018

Huge fights await the winner

Carl Frampton clashes with Nonito Donaire at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday night for the vacant interim WBO featherweight title.

It’s never a good time to lose but both camps would probably agree that this looks like a make-or-break bout for both fighters.

At 31-years-old and 35-years-old respectively, Frampton and Donaire have arguably passed their prime. But both are still top quality exponents in the featherweight division.

Who wins this fight will go on to contest bouts at the top table. The Coral News Team takes a look at both camps and predicts a winner.

Is Frampton re-born?

Does a dark cloud still linger long over Carl Frampton? A split with the McGuigans and an ensuing court case threatens to distract the Belfast boxer.

The Jackal is now trained by Jamie Moore. And Frampton waxed lyrical before his last fight about a new lease of life under the former British middleweight champion.

But a slightly sluggish performance in his win against Horacio Garcia last November undercut that rhetoric slightly. Frampton has yet to expel the doubts that have crept in after losing his world title to Leo Santa Cruz.

However, at his best, Frampton is a world class pugilist and a natural-born entertainer. A win here would see him become a strap-holder once again – at least an interim one – and make him a mandatory challenger to WBO champion, Oscar Valdez.

Can Donaire still cut it?

A world champion in four different weight classes, the Filipino Flash once went unbeaten for an incredible 12 years. From 2001 until 2013, he won 30 fights in a row before losing to the legendary Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux.

So Frampton will know already what sort of quality he’ll be dealing with – this is no gimme for the Northern Irishman. And Donaire will be hungry to prove he can still cut the mustard at this level, even in the twilight years of a 42-fight career.

The ability is certainly there. He has ferociously quick hand-speed and thunderous punching power – although that has lessened slightly as he’s gone up the weight divisions.

Can Donaire produce one last great effort to catapult him back into the limelight?

Fight Prediction

Frampton is as short as 1/7 to win, with Donaire a huge outsider at 9/2. The Draw is 22/1.

It suggests a chasm in quality between the fighters when, in essence, there’s not really. There are only four years between the pair, but Donaire has definitely more miles on the clock in terms of fights.

Plus the Jackal will have a huge hometown crowd behind him and that’s certain to spur him on. Surely the hugely experienced Donaire is more than capable of dealing with that?

The Filipino has only been knocked out once in four-career losses. And the Belfast man has gone the distance in his last five fights. Frampton is 8/15 to win by Decision or Technical Decision.

By all accounts, a fire has been lit under Frampton. And in front of his home crowd, against an opponent of Donaire’s calibre – can he produce a stoppage at 5/2?

We’ll find out on Saturday night.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing