The sun was out all over Ireland yesterday, so perhaps John Rawling’s reddish complexion in the final seconds of his ringside interview with Carl Frampton at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast last night was the result of him catching a few too many rays.
Then again, perhaps not.
The veteran British boxing announcer was in Belfast to work a card headlined by the city’s own Paddy Barnes for Boxnation. Barnes, in only his third professional fight, was hoping to pick up the vacant WBO European flyweight belt with a win over the far more experienced Silvio Olteanu. Frampton, one of Paddy’s best mates, was on hand to cheer him on.
Before Barnes entered the arena to a predictably raucous reception, Rawling spoke with Frampton about the popular two-time Olympic bronze medalist’s prospects in the pros.
At 30, a fairly ripe old age for a fighter campaigning at the lower weights, and with years of top-class amateur experience behind him, Barnes wants to be fast-tracked. He has spoken of winning world honours after just a handful of fights. In fact, according to Rawling, Barnes has expressed the belief that he is capable of winning a world title after fewer fights than Paul Weir, a Scotsman who scooped the WBO minimumweight title in just his sixth professional contest back in 1993.
“I think, if he’s given the opportunity, he could [do that],” Frampton told Rawling. “But I think Paddy would probably be happy enough if he did it inside ten [fights].”
“I think Paddy can be fast-tracked. No doubt that he could win a world title within ten fights. He probably could win a world title in six fights, but there is no absolute rush just yet.
It was here that Rawling got confused. With Paul Weir still on his mind, the commentator attempted to wrap up the interview. “Great to see you, Paul,” said Rawling to Frampton, before wishing the former super-bantamweight and featherweight world titlist best of luck in the future.
Frampton didn’t let it slide.
“Carl is my name, John,” said ‘The Jackal’ with a grin, causing an eruption of laughter from presenter Steve Bunce and analysts, Jamie Conlan and Steve Lillis, who were just out of shot.
Well, at least he didn’t call him Peter.
“How did I say that,” responded Rawling. “That is going to go down as one of the great bloopers. Sorry about that, Carl. You are only the most famous fighter in the country.”
Fight fans on Twitter were thoroughly entertained.
— Pádraig Burke (@padraig_b) June 17, 2017
— chris D (@chrisdee89) June 17, 2017
What about wee paul frampton 😂😂 quality from box nation 😂
— jundog (@jundog1979) June 17, 2017
Less than six weeks until Paul Frampton makes his Belfast homecoming 😂 https://t.co/7mIBouVzPt
— Cyclone Promotions (@CyclonePromo) June 18, 2017
Is this Paul Frampton lad any good? https://t.co/pIU5XUzPaF
— Ciarán Gallagher (@Ciaran_Gally) June 18, 2017
😂😂😂 who da fook is that guy?
— 5am Morgan (@5amMorganYe) June 18, 2017
— Chris Suitor GGG – SuitorBros (@SuitorBrothers) June 18, 2017
Hahahaha fukin quality, 'carl is my name' 😂😂😂😂
— Orlaigh (@orlaighcorr24) June 17, 2017
Alright Paul, I thought you were gonna let it slide! Fair play though you didn't 😎🤣
— Lisa Magennis (@lisamag2) June 18, 2017
Barnes went on to claim that European strap, with a majority decision win over Olteanu in a really tough ten-round fight. Scores were 95-95, 97-94 and 97-93 in favour of the home fighter, much to delight of the great Paul Frampton, who will himself box in Belfast on July 29th.