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Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Metro.co.uk Big Fight Preview: Make or break for the Belfast man?

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Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
Carl Frampton is up against a legend on Saturday (Pictures: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Carl Frampton is back in action against a four-weight world champion this weekend in Belfast.

The Northern Irish hero fights the Filipino Flash Nonito Donaire in front of his beloved Belfast crowd and there is a lot at stake for the former world champion.

Beat Donaire and a world title fight at Windsor Park becomes a reality. Lose and Frampton is discarded into the shadows of the featherweight division.

Here we break down the fight and try and pick out a winner.

More: Boxing

FORM…

Frampton's last five fights

WIN vs Horacio Garcia – PTS
LOSS vs Leo Santa Cruz – MD
WIN vs Leo Santa Cruz – MD
WIN vs Scott Quigg – SD
WIN vs Alejandro Gonzalez Jr – UD

Donaire's last five fights

WIN vs Ruben Garcia Hernandez – UD
LOSS vs Jessie Magdaleno – UD
WIN vs Zsolt Bedak – TKO (R3)
WIN vs Cesar Juarez – UD
WIN Anthony Settoul – TKO (R2)

INTERESTING BECAUSE…

Carl Frampton is made take a knee by the referee
Frampton has begun to show signs of slowing down (Picture: PA Wire)

Frampton has told anyone that will listen this fight is make or break for him. The Northern Irishman currently stands in a kind of no mans land in the featherweight division.

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Not a world champion, yet to re-affirm himself as challenger, but living with the recent memory of having been a world title holder. Frampton has elected Donaire because of his name, and he can count the Filipino as the most illustrious fighter he has faced.

Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
Jessie Magdaleno stunned Donaire in 2016 to take his title (Picture: Getty)
Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
Donaire has held titles at four different weights classes (Picture: Getty)

Donaire is 35, and although seems well past his best, he still holds the echoes of a four-weight world champion. Hes twice won knockout of the year and has still only lost four times in 42 fights.

A convincing win over Donaire magnifies the focus on Frampton again and sets up a big fight at Windsor Park in the summer. Frampton is desperate to fight at Windsor and has asked promoter Frank Warren to ensure its a title fight. That request becomes doable if Frampton beats Donaire.

Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
Frampton is desperate to climb back into world title contention (Picture: Getty)

Regardless of what could come after Donaire, this was a dangerous fight for Frampton to take. Donaire was embarrassed by huge underdog Magdaleno in November 2016, but looked sharp and fitter in his last fight.

The Magdaleno could have been just a blip, and Frampton may have the miscalculated the extent of Donaires decline. The Northern Irishman is confident hed beat Donaire in his prime, but the night could go seriously wrong if Frampton meets Donaire at his best.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES…

Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
(Picture: Getty)

Frampton has spoken at length about making changes to his camp for this fight. Altitude training, the introduction of a sport psychologist and Manchester Citys fitness coach – Frampton has left no stone unturned this time round.

Its no surprise considering Frampton looked spent by the end of his last fight against Horacio Garcia. He pointed to mental and fitness hang ups after the result, and it looks like hes made serious adjustments to address those issues.

Frampton vs Donaire

Frampton

Age: 31
Record: 24-1-KO14
Reach: 62”
Height: 5′ 5”
Rounds: 162

Donaire

Age: 35
Record: 38-4-KO24
Reach: 68”
Height: 5′ 5.5”
Rounds: 255

It also helps that Donaires fitness has looked a problem in recent years. Against Magdaleno, in a world title fight, Donaire tired after the fifth round and got picked off. The most heavy defeats have seen Donaires opponents expose his lack of imagination.

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Cut off the prospect of quick counters and Donaire struggles. He likes to react rather than lead and Frampton is a skilled enough boxer to be able to frustrate and hurt Donaire, without leaving the door open to heavy replies.

Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
Frampton is still adjusting to a new coach (Picture: Getty)
Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
This will be his first full camp under Jamie Moore (Picture: Getty)

Frampton has been active against the best of the best in recent years, while Donaire has skipper over elite opponents since being forced into an ill-fated showdown with Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2013.

All the indications are that Donaire is a fading force, while Frampton can claim to just at the beginning of a rejuvenation. But he is also coming off one of the worst performances of his career while Donaires power has followed him up the five weight divisions hes featured in since the start of his career.

LAST FIGHT…

Frampton vs Horacio Garcia – Nov

Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
Frampton beat Horacio Garcia on points (Picture: Getty)

Framptons last fight was hardly inspiring. He was knocked down in the seven round and looked exhausted when the final bell rang.

It was not the blockbuster night he had been hoping for after splitting from Barry McGuigan and co, but it showed Frampton still has all the desire necessary to compete.

A clear points victory hardly told the story of what was a gruelling night for Frampton in Belfast.

Frampton on Garcia win

It was a good fight for the fans. I boxed well for the first few rounds but then got myself caught up in a fight. I wanted a hard fight for my comeback and thats what I got. The rust is off, the cobwebs are gone and now I want to fight one of the big guys.

Donaire vs Ruben Garcia Hernandez – Sep

Carl Frampton vs Nonito Donaire Preview: Frampton's calculated risk may backfire
(Picture: Getty)

Donaire put in an impressive performance against Ruben Garcia Hernandez. It was his first outing since the shock loss to Magdaleno and Donaires first bout since splitting from Top Rank.

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He won the WBC silver featherweight strap and showed brilliant glimpses of his once unstoppable self.

METRO.CO.UK PREDICTION…

In all truthfulness its a good time to fight Donaire and Frampton should have ironed out some of the mental issues from his previous outing. Frampton has his eyes set on becoming a two-time featherweight world champion and can still count himself as one of the best in the division.

Beating Donaire convincingly will fire Frampton back among the big dogs and we expect the Northern Irishman to do just that.

A sweaty Carl Frampton smiles in the ring as he bears his teeth
Prediction: Frampton via decision

VOTE…

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