Aftermath: Belfast fight night
In the aftermath of a big night's boxing in Belfast on Saturday Andrew Harrison, Paul Zanon, Callum Rudge, Lee Gormley, Shaun Brown, Michael Montero, James Oddy and Colin Harris give their verdicts on Rosales vs Barnes, Fury vs Pianeta and Frampton vs Jackson, as well as looking ahead to Fury vs Wilder and Frampton vs Warrington...
BM: After being stopped by Cristofer Rosales, can Paddy Barnes come again?
AH: Barnes can make another run at a title. He’s popular and has major financial backing and that counts for a lot at the lightest weights, where title-holders are still paid a pittance in comparison to less talented peers further up the divisions. It depends how badly he wants to be a good pro, I guess. A switch to someone like John Breen - an unfashionable as he appears to be right now - would do him wonders.
PZ: I believe Barnes can come again. He was doing well in the fight, when one shot changed everything. A tune-up fight against a contender will show if he's truly ready for another crack at a world title.
CR: He can but he can’t wait around, he’s 31 and at flyweight, that makes him no spring chicken. Paddy was extremely brave challenging for a world title after just six fights but he came up against someone just too big and powerful. Barnes will need to get another eliminator quickly if he still harbours world title ambitions.
LG: Barnes can bounce back and challenge again for sure. He was up against a bigger, more powerful fighter in Rosales in what was only his sixth pro outing. Plus he was doing very well up to that wicked body shot, which would any opponent down. If Frank Warren can get him back on another eliminator trail, he has the talent and drive to come again, but he'll need to be quick considering he's 31 and campaigns at the lower weights.
SB: He can come again but not at world level in my opinion. Don’t see how he’d fare any better up a weight. Age is not on his side either at such a diminutive weight. He’s going to have to get a shifty on.
MM: That was truly a crushing body blow from Rosales, which would have likely flattened anybody. Lesson learned: in the pros one punch can change everything. I believe a fighter with Barnes' pedigree can rebound from this stronger. As Vasyl Lomachenko learned in his first attempt to win a world title, the pro ranks are much different than the amateurs. Just three months after Loma's loss to Salido he was back in the ring against Russell. That is what Barnes needs to do, get right back in there.
JO: I don't think Barnes was being outclassed at all, the body shot was a sickener which would have put most figures on the canvas. So yes, he can come back. I'm not convinced he will win a world title but boxing has a funny way of turning out.
CH: It was a good effort from Barnes, but while he was in the fight and landed some nice shots at times, Rosales was in command the entire time. It was a lovely shot which finished things and there is nothing for Barnes to feel upset about. While I think he can come again and has another world title shot in him, I'd suggest three or four fights down the European title route first.
BM: What was your assessment of Tyson Fury vs Francesco Pianeta and what are your feelings about the Fury vs Wilder showdown?
AH: Fury needed those rounds but it wasn’t pretty. His legs still don’t look there (and perhaps they won’t ever again) and he’s lacking snap in his shots. His timing looked better, though, and he’s obviously spent a lot of time slipping punches on the ropes in training (which is consistent with the gym videos his team have released). The Wilder fight could be anything: eyesore, boxing lesson or disaster. It’s probably coming too soon for Fury but it’s a power move and the big man may well need the challenge to spur on his pretty remarkable comeback. It’s great for boxing and the heavyweight division, too. The winner will have set up an Anthony Joshua extravaganza perfectly.
PZ: Fury didn't seem anyway near the 2015 version. Physically he's not there... which means mentally he can't be 100 per cent. Fury and Wilder are a great double act. It's a bold move for Fury taking on the Bronze Bomber whilst still in his transition phase back to greatness, but we've all learned to expect the unexpected from the big man. Roll on the showdown...
CR: Fury looked much closer to his old self than against Sefer Seferi but not quite the 2015 vintage. He came out a lot quicker this time out and dominated an unambitious Pianeta. However, Fury lacked spite throughout and never pushed hard for the stoppage. Wilder won’t be too worried but he will know there is more to come from Fury. For me, this seems too soon for Fury but I can’t help but admire him for making a fight that Anthony Joshua wouldn’t.
LG: I was lucky enough to be at Windsor Park from early on and enjoyed every fight that took place, but the Fury vs Pianeta bout was one of the worst. Fury basically had a walking punchbag put in front of him in order to get ten rounds under his belt before taking on Wilder. I'm not sure how that and the Seferi fight will have prepared him to take on the number one or two heavyweight in the world next. But fair play to him for not waiting around like Joshua and travelling to Las Vegas to take Wilder on.
SB: Fury vs Pianeta was phase two of the Fury comeback. Basically he can do rounds and not look gassed. It was what it was. Pianeta landed but was never going to win. Fury had fun but looked more professional this time. I don’t think the Wilder fight should be happening until the end of 2019, that’s the common sense approach. But I do respect a risk taker and Fury’s going for it. Massive respect to him and to everyone for getting it made with seemingly little fuss.
MM: Fury got in ten much-needed rounds against the Italian, and was in control every second. The Gypsy King was more than a stone lighter than he was against Seferi in June. These are all great signs and Fury is as ready for Wilder now as he will ever be. I don't love the fact that the fight is in Las Vegas, it makes more sense in New York, but the promotion for this event is going to be highly entertaining. Two giant men, two giant personalities.
JO: Fury looked OK but is a long way from the mobile boxer we saw against Wlad and Chisora in 2014/15. The Wilder fight almost seems like it's been made to spite Matchroom, and I think it's much too soon. Say what you will about Wilder and his technique, but if he lands on anyone they are in trouble. Ortiz is a slippery operator, the records seem to suggest he punches harder than Fury, and Wilder still found a way to get to him. I have a soft spot for Fury and I hope he can pull it off, but I fear he won't.
CH: Fury needed to do ten rounds in this fight and Pianeta was a good choice for a human punch bag: so in that respect it was as case of 'job done". However, Fury doesn't look back to where he was and I'd have suggested another couple of fights before a summer 2019 showdown with Wilder. As much as I will root for Fury, I think it's fair that Wilder starts as favourite. The most amusing thing in all of this is how all-of-a-sudden we're all talking about these guys instead of Anthony Joshua - who, somehow, seems to have gotten this 'disinterested' label... but we cannot fault Fury (or Wilder) for the willingness to take the fight. If Fury can recapture his Klitschko form then he wins, but on the Pianeta showing that form is looking unlikely.
BM: What was your assessment of Carl Frampton's performance against Luke Jackson and what are your thoughts on him taking on Josh Warrington?
AH: As a huge admirer of the Belfast man, I was a little underwhelmed. Despite the fact Carl controlled the entire fight, it’s clear that Frampton isn’t as explosive at featherweight as he once was at super-bantam, which made for a frustrating affair against the outclassed Jackson. A couple of years ago, no one would have given Warrington a shot at beating Frampton but how things have changed (though the bookies have installed Frampton as a solid 5-to-2 odds on favourite). In what looks likely to be a distance fight, you have Frampton’s pinpoint boxing against Warrington’s intensity, fitness, size and drive. If they can get the venue right to accommodate the two best fanbases in British (perhaps world) boxing, then it will be a fantastic occasion and a red-hot ticket
PZ: Frampton looked good. The tools are sharp and you can't ask for any more from him. Beating Jackson did not tell us how good Frampton is at present... but Warrington will. I can't wait for this one.
CR: I have to agree with Andrew on this one, Frampton doesn’t look as explosive at 126lbs but has lost none of his ring generalship and punch selection. Jackson showed a great chin and deserves credit for that, if nothing else. Frampton vs Warrington is a fascinating match-up, Warrington has improved in the last 12 months and will give Frampton all he can handle.
LG: Frampton looked very strong in Belfast, his early body work laid the foundations for the stoppage and he delivered on his promise of finally getting another knockout victory. He still looks in great shape at this stage of his career and the next meeting with Warrington will be a very interesting encounter. Both men have a lot on the line but if Frampton can dethrone him and become world champion again, he's set himself up brilliantly for the final chapter of a distinguished career.
SB: As expected Frampton looked a couple of levels above Jackson. A lot was rightly made of Frampton’s judgement of distance which was again evident last night, as was his timing and counter punching. But he was allowed to dictate because he was never in trouble. He took the odd big shot but nothing that troubled him. It was a demonstration of how good Frampton is against a fighter outside the top ten. The Warrington fight is the logical one. Oscar Valdez is injured. Leo Santa Cruz doesn’t want a third fight. Gary Russell Jr is high risk. Warrington is easy to make, has its benefits for both parties and will do good gate numbers. The fight is 50-50 for me. There's not a chance that Warrington will let him get away with what he got to do against Jackson. We saw how the champion roughed up Lee Selby and Frampton can expect that too. Warrington won’t stop coming, and it will be educated pressure with underrated skill against the world class abilities of Frampton. It's a brilliant fight.
MM: Frampton looked spectacular last night but it was against Luke Jackson. The Aussie is very game but also very limited at the elite level. Should Warrington be next, Frampton will be facing a taller, younger, seemingly hungrier fighter with a rugged style. Is The Jackal still hungry? He won't have to go hunting for Warrington, the man from Leeds will be right there in front of the master counter puncher.
JO: Frampton is such a wonderful boxer to watch. I agree with some of the other BM writers in that he doesn't look quite as snappy at the higher weight but that doesn't take away from his many other in-ring gifts. My fellow Leeds lad Warrington is ultra fit, aggressive, strong and, whilst not a knockout artist, he has more pop than he is often given credit for. I felt he'd push Selby close and he's been consistently underestimated. It'll be a cracking fight. As much as I hate to pick against him, I think Warrington might come up just short, but I wouldn't be surprised if he sprang another upset. Another big question is: Leeds or Belfast? Leeds has a strong Irish connection (we have three Gaelic football teams and the ever popular Irish centre) so it'll be a fascinating meeting of fan bases wherever it takes place.
CH: Frampton just looked a little 'fourth gear' to me, and if it had been someone from the world's top ten he was fighting then he may have had a very tough night. I think he has to start as favourite vs Warrington, but we can all agree he needs to be at his very best to take the IBF title as the Leeds man will go like a steam train all night. I am actually hoping the WBO strip Valdez and promote Frampton to full champion so it's a unification match. I also wonder from this far out if we'll see a dramatic draw at the end of the 12 rounds...