Carl Frampton is set to return on Saturday on ESPN (4 pm ET), facing short notice opponent Darren Traynor in what is, in all honesty, a tune-up fight on paper, one to get the 33-year-old two-division titleholder back in action and headed toward a possible world title bout.
Frampton (27-2, 15 KO) has won belts at 122 and 126, and now has his sights set on a title at 130 pounds, specifically the WBO belt held by Jamel Herring, who will return on Sept. 5 against Jonathan Oquendo.
For Frampton, it’s about legacy, and proving to be an all-time Irish great.
“Legacy is a big driving force for me,” Frampton said this week. “If I win a third world title it will cement me as Ireland’s greatest ever fighter.”
The Belfast native has an uphill climb at 130 for sure. He’s small for the weight, and he’s had some hand injury issues. He also lost his last world title attempt at 126, clearly out-pointed by Josh Warrington in Dec. 2018.
But he’s always been an extremely determined fighter, too, and he still has a lot of hunger. As far as Saturday goes, he’ll be a massive favorite against Traynor (16-3, 7 KO), who came into the fight to replace Vahram Vardyanan, who also wasn’t expected to be a big threat to Frampton.
The hope is, perhaps, we’ll see Herring-Frampton by the end of 2020, or maybe early in 2021, and Frampton will need to get through this fight with a win and no injuries.