Sometimes as a boxing fan it is hard to see one of your favourites boxers start to suffer at the hands of every boxers nemesis , Father Time . We as fans find ways to justify the slide of our favourite fighters , it becomes difficult to know when your giving an honest opinion or if your just lying to yourself .On Saturday i found myself in such a position when watching Carl Frampton make his long awaited return to the ring in Belfast against Horacio Garcia .

As The Jackel made his way to the ring the atmosphere was electric as the Belfast crowd welcomed home one of there most famous sons . Across from him in the ring was a Mexican kid called Horacio Garcia who had a record of 33-3-1 but was pretty much an unknown and a massive outsider with he bookies . After 10 months out of the ring Frampton was looking for someone to give him rounds but from the off Frampton showed little signs of ring rust and after landing some massive shots in the first couple of rounds it did look like this one could be over early . After a shaky start to the fight it became apparent that Garcia had come into this fight in fantastic shape and just kept plodding away at Frampton .

Frampton had won every round going into the fifth but was starting to look a bit weary , his legs looked a little bit heavier also and with Garcia applying constant pressure there was no chance of getting a rest . As we past the halfway point Frampton had slowed considerably and Garcia was going from strength to , it must be said Garcia was in no way flashy with his work but he was consistent and was having success pulling Frampton into a scrap . The pressure was further still put on Frampton when in the seventh round a slip and well timed shot was enough to send Frampton down . There was glimpses of magic from Frampton , he was landing some fantastic shots but all to often he was getting caught against the ropes and Garcia was working the body which was taking such a toll on Frampton . Carl Frampton finally stopped the rot in the tenth and final round , where he dug deep and stood toe to toe with Garcia and got the better of him , and on my card Frampton needed the final round . Frampton walked out the clear winner on all the cards which didn’t really reflect on just how tough a fight it was…..Framptons swollen face did .

The Verdict:

This was Carl Framptons first fight since January and it did show at times , and it has to be said that the tough Horacio Garcia might not have been the best opponent to come back to depending on which way you want to look at it . The Ring Rust wasn’t what stood out to me , i thought some of Framptons shot selection, especially early on was fantastic he also looked to carry the more power of the two . What stood out to me was that Frampton really looked to be feeling the pace after four rounds and this where my dilemma lays , has time caught up with The Jackal in his extended absence ? . The jury is still out just now and I’m sure we will know better after Framptons next fight but i cant help but think that Leo Santa Cruz or Lee Selby will be licking there lips at the thought of going to Windsor Park in the summer .

Steven Donnell

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