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Kiko Martinez vs. Carl Frampton: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2014

Kiko Martinez vs. Carl Frampton: Preview and Prediction for Title Fight

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    Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

    Kiko Martinez will make the third defense of his IBF Super Bantamweight Championship on Saturday night, taking on No. 1 contender Carl Frampton in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

    Martinez took the belt with an upset knockout of Jonatan Romero last August, and he’s successfully defended it against former world champions Jeffrey Mathebula and Hozumi Hasegawa. He’s won four fights in a row since being stopped by Frampton in early 2013.

    Frampton is an undefeated rising star in the UK, and he has the confidence of knowing that he already holds a win over the champion. "The Jackal" will enter the ring as both the odds-on and hometown favorite, looking for the first world title of his career.

    Will this fight be repeat or revenge?

    Read on for your complete preview and prediction of Martinez vs. Frampton for the IBF Super Bantamweight Championship.

Tale of the Tape

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

     

     Kiko MartinezCarl Frampton
    Record31-4, 23 KO18-0, 13 KO
    Age2827
    Height5'3"5'5"
    Weight121.25 (last fight)121.5 (last fight)
    Reach66"62"
    StanceOrthodoxOrthodox
    HometownAlicante, Comunidad Valenciana, SpainBelfast, Northern Ireland
    Rounds19887
    Last FightTKO 7 Hozumi Hasegawa (4/23/14)KO 2 Hugo Fidel Cazares (4/4/14)

    All stats and information per BoxRec.com.

Main Storylines

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    Martinez is on the biggest roll of his career, having won his last three fights over current or former world champions. That should add to his confidence ahead of a rematch against the last man to beat him.

    The 28-year-old captured a share of the 122-pound crown in his first trip stateside, and his last two fights have built on that performance.

    Martinez needs to find a way to change the equation in this fight. Frampton lit him up with combinations the first time, and renewed confidence alone won’t prevent that from happening again.

     

    Frampton is rocketing up the ranks to stardom.

    The Jackal is an overwhelming favorite to emerge from Belfast in his native Northern Ireland with the first world championship of his career, and he has the confidence of knowing he can beat Martinez.

    Frampton is looking to join a growing group of top-flight fighters from across the pond. If he wins, he’ll become the second British fighter to win a title in the last three weeks.

Strengths

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Martinez is a swarmer.

    He brings the heat at his opponent from the opening bell, pressuring and uncorking a steady stream of big shots. It’s not the most refined style, at least from a technical boxing standpoint, but he’s won more fights with it than he’s lost.

    Martinez prefers the action at close quarters, and his high output and aggression help him to wear down his opponent.

     

    Frampton is an aggressive fighter who is able to mix and match his punches with great effectiveness.

    He’s comfortable fighting on both the inside and outside, and he used Martinez’s aggression against him in the first fight, walking him into big shots all night.

    Frampton’s defense and reflexes are excellent. He strings his punches together well and has demonstrated a killer instinct when his foe is in trouble.

Weaknesses

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Martinez tries to rush in and just throw punches.

    His style is unrefined—there really isn’t a whole lot in terms of technical boxing ability—and Frampton was able to pick him apart last time out.

    Martinez doesn’t throw his jab often, relying on hard-charging rushes and head movement to get into position to slug away, and that makes him very predictable. 

     

    Frampton doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses.

    He sometimes has a tendency to wing his punches out there without much regard for where he wants them to end up. It hasn’t cost him yet, but he needs to be more careful as his competition level continues to rise.

    Frampton must not be overconfident coming into this fight. He beat Martinez once, yes, but the stakes are much higher this time, and the champion has renewed confidence.

Kiko Martinez Will Win If...

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    Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

    Martinez has a couple of problems coming into this fight.

    He only knows how to fight in one way, and that didn’t work terribly well for him the first time out.

    Frampton used his aggression against him, popping him with crisp combinations on the way in before walking him into a massive right hand that ended the fight.

    Martinez needs to be smarter with his aggression this time. That’s a tall order for a guy with over 30 professional fights, virtually all of them looking the same. It's just difficult after that many fights for a leopard to change his spots. 

    He needs to use his jab—which was largely nonexistent in the first fight—mix his punches better and cut the ring off effectively in order for his offense to work.

    He can't be so predictable. Otherwise, it’s going to be another long night. 

Carl Frampton Will Win If...

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Frampton would be totally fine with this fight playing out in exactly the same manner as the first one.

    He moved backward for most of the fight, popping Martinez with big punches and taking advantage of his aggression. All that led up to a crushing one-punch stoppage near the end of Round 9.

    Frampton will need to do more of the same in this fight.

    He needs to move around the ring, preventing Martinez from getting into range, use his jab and pick him off when he comes in.

    When he's there, he needs to make him pay a heavy price with his sharper, crisper punches.

    That was the blueprint that worked to such devastating effect last year, and it should work again just fine.

And the Winner Will Be...

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Frampton will be trading in his regional championships for the real thing on Saturday night.

    He’s shown steady improvement in each of his most recent fights, and there just isn’t much here to indicate that Martinez can adapt enough to reverse the result in this rematch.

    Frampton will once again utilize his superior technique to prevent Martinez from getting into the range necessary to work his offense. He'll frustrate him, make him sloppy and leave him open to hard counters.

    Martinez is a tough, bullish type of fighter, and he’s earned every bit of what he’s achieved in boxing the hard way. But he’s just not built to beat a fighter with Frampton’s style, tools and in-ring smarts.

    Expect a similar fight with a similar ending and the crowning of a new world champion.

    Frampton by knockout.

    Prediction: Frampton KO 8 Martinez

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