HUBBARD’S CUPBOARD – 27.11.17
By Alan Hubbard
Not since Ricky Hatton mesmerised Manchester has a home-town hero been as passionately lionised as Carl Frampton.
The way Frampton’s followers raised the roof at the packed SSE Arena last weekend was reminiscent of those nights a few years back at the Manchester Arena when Hatton’s fans cheered him to the echo whether the Hitman hit-or-missed.
There has always been something Bruno-esque about both the Hitman and The Jackal. They are beloved of their supporters for who they are as much as what they do, for their persona as well as their punches.
It was the same with Sir Henry Cooper in London and Joe Calzaghe in Wales.
With Frampton, for instance, you have the feeling that even if he was knocked sparko his legion of fans would still love him forever as those Mancunian loyalists did Hatton after he was flattened by Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Which is why Frampton will always sell out an arena and is such a coup for Frank Warren in Belfast.
Ok, so he wasn’t at his peak against Horacio Garcia but few fighters would be after a ring absence of ten months at 30 years of age. But he still has it.
Last week Boxing News posed the questions: Can Carl Frampton still win a world title?
My answer would be a unequivocal yes – providing he has at least one more warm-up fight, which Frank wants him to do before hiring Windsor Park next summer. And what a night that would be.
Like Hatton, Frampton will be one of those British fighters lodged in the memory of the fans for their lifetime. And who knows, maybe in a few years, he will follow the Hitman as the recipient of the Nordoff Robbins Boxing Icon award.
Frank presented this to Ricky at the annual charity boxing dinner in London saying that fighters like him come along only once in a Blue Moon, so to speak.
“Of all the exciting personalities with whom I’ve been associated, few have been held in as much genuine public affection or esteem. The word icon could have been invented for him.”
I thinki they will always be saying that in Belfast about Carl Frampton,
FERDIE PACHECO WHO has died just three weeks short of his 90th birthday was not only the best known medico in boxing, but a man of many talents.
Author, artist and brilliant raconteur. The great sadness about his passing is that if only his most famous patient, Muhammad Ali, had listened to him, then it is quite possible he would still be with us today, having outlived him.
Dr Pacheco, whom I knew well, from many years covering Ali’s fights, twice begged him to quit. First after the brutal ‘Thrilla in Manila’ with Joe Frazier in 1975, when Ali whispered in his ear after the fight ‘this is the closest thing to dying’.
Then two years later after a viciously fought 15 round battle with Earnie Shavers, Pacheco told him ‘you have to quit, champ’. Instead, it was Pacheco who quit, saying he could not be responsible for Ali’s wellbeing any more.
“That’s when I decided enough was enough,” he said. ”If a national treasure like Ali like Ali could not be saved at least I didn’t have to be part of his undoing.”
He left the entourage, unwisely Ali continued to box until he was almost 40. By then he had started to develop Parkinson’s disease, which grew progressively worse until his death last year.
I saw the disintegration of a human being I loved,” Dr. Pacheco said in 1999. “I saw him lose all that had made him great. You could see him slowing down in speech and thought. It was just heartbreaking.”
In addition to his association with Ali, Pacheco, who was of Cuban heritage, used his position as one of boxing’s best known personalities – he was also an accomplished TV analyst and commentator – to call for reforms in boxing including the presence of paramedics and ambulances at venues.
He refused to cover fights of boxers who had suffered detached retinas or come out of retirement.