Rising Irish star Carl Frampton was hoping to make an explosive North American debut on national TV. He was expected by many to possibly score a highlight reel stoppage of tough Mexican contender Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions’ afternoon “CBS” event. That never came, but “The Jackal” did dominate “Cobrita” over 12 rounds, despite Frampton almost not making it out of the opening round in the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
After cracking his foe with a few nasty shots, a short right hand on the inside caught Frampton clean, sending him down on one knee while his left glove touched the canvas. The flash knockdown was legitimate and it seemed as though Gonzalez was ready to take the fight over right then. But after being knocked down a few moments later from an even harder right hand, there was a collective gasp among Frampton’s supporters.
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Frampton climbed back to his feet and seemed shaken, but he was saved by the bell. The hype machine surrounding the defending IBF junior featherweight champion appeared to implode before the boxing world’s very eyes, but Frampton cleared his head and completely seized control in the second. And once he found his rhythm, Gonzalez’s chances began fading fast.
Frampton was terrific with his double and triple jab that was routinely followed by a loopy overhand right. Gonzalez was competitive early, but as each round ticked away Frampton’s right hand became more lethal. Gonzalez had no answer for it. Even when “Cobrita” had his moments with lefts to the body and counter rights to the head, Frampton was far busier and landed the more telling blows.
Gonzalez (25-2-2, 15 KOs) had his fortunes turn even worse in the 11th round when he was deducted a point for repeated low blows. He tried to score a desperation knockout by pouring on the pressure in the final round, but Frampton nullified that with movement and the jab. When the final bell sounded, it was obvious Frampton had successfully defended his crown, awarded a unanimous decision victory by tallies of 115-109 (judge Carlos Ortiz Jr.) and 116-108 (twice for judges Joel Elizondo and Carlos Colon) to improve to 21-0 with 14 KOs.
“I know he doesn’t look like a strong man, but let me tell you, Alejandro hits hard,” Frampton said after the fight. “I knew I had to move and use my jab to disrupt him. I wanted to make a statement today and I think I did. He is a very tough fighter.”
In the co-feature, popular American heavyweight Chris Arreola fought to a grueling majority draw against Cameroon native Fred Kassi. The two big men traded sporadic big shots throughout their 10-round affair, but Kassi’s movement and jab was the key. He perplexed Arreola throughout and it appeared as if Kassi (18-3-1, 10 KOs) did enough to win. Arreola’s pressure and harder punches to the head and body were enough to garner some attention on the judge’s scorecards.
Arreola was hoping to revive his career with a win on national TV, one that would set up a world title shot against WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder. But his inactivity forced the draw. The official scores were 95-95 (twice) and 96-94 for Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs), who admitted afterward that his performance didn’t warrant a date with Wilder.
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