You could be forgiven if you thought you were in some Belfast pub instead of a hotel ballroom in El Paso, Texas, on Friday. The crowd worked itself up as first one, then another fighter from Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions took the scales for fights on Saturday’s card from the Don Haskins Center, which will air live on CBS (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT).
Then, when Carl Frampton took the stage, bedlam. If it was disheartening for Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., fighting within view of his native Mexico but with a fraction of the crowd response, he didn’t show it.
Frampton came in at 121.6 pounds, comfortably below the 122-pound limit. Gonzalez was 121.4.
After the weigh-in, Frampton took a slug of a protein shake and grimaced. Thin gruel compared to real food, but that would come soon enough. His manager, Barry McGuigan, offered succinct summary of his charge’s preparedness for his United States debut.
“He’s ready,” McGuigan offered.
In the co-main event, heavyweight contender Chris Arreola was svelte at 246.8 pounds. His opponent, Fred Kassi, clocked in at 225 even.
For his March 13 brawl against Curtis Harper, Arreola weighed 262.
“It’s not so much the weight,” Arreola said. “At this point in life, with the last fight I weighed 262 and that’s because I didn’t want to cut. I used to cut before fights. Nowadays where I fall is where I fall. The main thing I care about is I’m in good boxing shape. I feel great. That’s my main thing right now.”
After a close fight against Harper, Arreola knows good things could be on the horizon if he has a memorable win over Kassi.
“I want to make sure that when I win this fight people are like, ‘Oh shit, did you guys see Chris Arreola? I would love to see him against [Deontay] Wilder,’” he said.
“[Harper] is not a fight that should have gone that long. My respect goes out to him. He’s the one who made that fight. He’s the one who got back up. I hit him harder than I hit [Eric] Molina [in 2012]. Molina didn’t get up, because he’s a p***y. True story. Harper got up because he’s got heart. He wanted to win.”
For all things Frampton vs Gonzalez and Arreola vs Kassi, don’t navigate anywhere but our fight pages.