Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will be cheering for a shock upset on Saturday night as the Mexican superstar will be ringside in Belfast to support fellow Guadalajara native Horacio Garcia against hometown hero Carl Frampton.
‘The Jackal’ tops a massive ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight bill this weekend in what will be his first home bout in over two-and-a-half years, live on BT Sport and BoxNation, at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
Garcia is a big underdog ahead of his 10-round featherweight bout against Belfast’s two-weight world champion, but he is set to have a famous fan behind him as Mexican sensation ‘Canelo’ will be at the Odyssey to support his Golden Boy Promotions stablemate.
Meanwhile, Frampton is looking forward to his ring return after suffering a first pro defeat to Mexican-American Leo Santa Cruz last January. ‘The Jackal’ fights for the first time since signing a promotional deal with Frank Warren and an advisory agreement with MTK Global.
And the 30-year-old Irishman is keen to ensure that his plans for a Windsor Park world-title showdown next summer are not derailed by the 27-year-old visitor or his superstar supporter.
“It’s great that ‘Canelo’ will be ringside – it will add even more of a buzz to what’s already one of Belfast’s biggest ever fight bills,” said Frampton. “But as much as I respect ‘Canelo’, he won’t have much to cheer about. Garcia is a good fighter and I’m not taking him lightly, but I have to beat him and I won’t be distracted from the task at hand.”
“If anything, this might put a bit of pressure on Garcia since he has Mexico’s most famous boxer and one of the sport’s biggest superstars is there to support him. It will surely weigh on his mind that he doesn’t want to get a beating in front of ‘Canelo’, but I plan on putting on a show for the Belfast public.”
“Garcia might have one big name cheering him on, but I have a whole city behind me. My fans have waited a long time for me to come back for a homecoming fight and I don’t want to disappoint them after all the support they’ve given me.”
A stacked bill also features Jamie Conlan challenging for his first world title as the Belfast super-flyweight takes on IBF world champion Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines.
Dubbed ‘The Mexican’ due to the dramatic all-action nature of his previous fights, Conlan is delighted that one of boxing’s superstars will be present on his big night.
“I was a bit shocked when I heard ‘Canelo’ will be there – it’s really exciting,” said Conlan. “I’ll have to wear the sombrero into the ring now!”
“I’m fully focused on my job, though. I won’t be getting into another war for the sake of it, but I still want the fans to be entertained and I’m ready for a tough fight.”
Three-time Olympian Paddy Barnes also features on the card as he fights for the vacant WBO inter-continental flyweight title.
The Belfast native plans on delivering an exciting performance to make sure he isn’t upstaged by the famous redhead at ringside.
“I’m not happy at all about it to be honest,” laughed Barnes. “I’m meant to be the most famous ginger at this show! ‘Canelo’ better be cheering on one of his own when I’m fighting.”
Tickets for Frampton Reborn are on sale via the SSE Arena Belfast Box Office, www.ssearenabelfast.com.