Carl Frampton's step-up fight didn't require him to step his own game up much at all, as Canadian veteran Steve Molitor looked just plain out of gas today in Belfast, stopped in six rounds of a fight he was never really in.
Frampton (15-0, 10 KO) deserves credit for doing the job put in front of him, and he should be given that credit. Molitor (34-3, 12 KO) hasn't been The Old Steve Molitor since 2008, and he didn't look great in his last fight, but he still figured to be a step up in class for the Belfast youngster, and should have been. That he really didn't turn out to be any challenge at all is no fault of Frampton's, or of the guys at Matchroom who booked this as a replacement bout when Kiko Martinez pulled out.
But as solid a win as this was, we've still got a standstill for the race to be considered Britain's best at 122 pounds, with Frampton in the hunt along with Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe, who will rematch on November 24 on the Hatton comeback bill.
Frampton's development, though, has been clear. He's gone from a bit reckless to a more patient, more mature operator in the ring, active with his workrate without letting himself get out of control. His last two performances have been contained, and he's showing his skills.
This is a fighter absolutely worth watching. He's on the rise, and hopefully that Kiko Martinez fight can be rescheduled, as it's the right next step.
Paul McCloskey UD-12 Manuel Perez: McCloskey was honest about his performance, which is more than you can say for the judges or the Sky commentators, who would have you believe he cruised, winning this one on scores of 118-110, 118-111, and 118-112. Perez didn't do the things that could have gotten him a points win here, but fair being fair, I had him winning eight rounds to four (116-112), though I could have seen a draw, perhaps. At no point did I think either of the following things:
- Perez could stop McCloskey.
- Perez had any hope of winning on the cards.
So despite the infuriating nature of watching Halling and Watt refuse to acknowledge anything Perez was doing well, I was never that concerned about anything. The end result was clear as day throughout. Perez wasn't beating the shit out of McCloskey, and didn't have power, so he had pretty much lost the fight as soon as his plane touched down, basically.
Perez's body work was solid, as was his ability to make McCloskey miss or just land on the gloves constantly. This was being talked up on TV as some great resurgence for McCloskey, and I'm not trying to take any personal shot at him, but this should have been, in my opinion, his fourth straight loss, as I also thought that Breidis Prescott deserved the nod. They can feed McCloskey wins at home all they want, but if he ever faces a top fighter again, it won't go well for him. That's just my honest assessment. McCloskey 24-2 (12), Perez 18-8-1 (4).