GRIDIRON football is the sport which traditionally dominates Thanksgiving weekend in America, but for Carl Frampton he too geared up to make that one last run for greatness.

You can say that the man from Belfast moved the chains nicely in outpointing Toledo’s Tyler McCreary over 10 rounds, but to get into the end zone – win world titles that is – “The Jackal” will get a lot more resistance from future opponents.

Frampton has never retired, but the fight with McCreary nevertheless had the feel of a comeback, a fresh start so to speak. Which is fine by Frampton, being that his career has stumbled since that magnificent victory over Leo Santa Cruz back in 2016.

In reality the McCreary bout at The Cosmopolitan was no more than a tune-up for Frampton before he challenges Jamel Herring for the WBO super-featherweight title next year in either Belfast or New York. After dropping McCreary with body blows in the sixth and ninth rounds and not having lost a session on the scorecards of the judges Eric Cheek, John McKaie, and Steve Weisfeld (all 100-88), Frampton proved he is once again ready for big game hunting.

The sleek McCreary towered over Frampton and gave him a few problems with his jab and speed, but Carl was simply a level above, investing in a body attack which paid dividends as the fight went along.

Frampton moved forward and picked his spots. A right to the ribcage in the fourth round landed with such a thud it could be heard throughout the arena. But Frampton’s left hand, which was injured earlier in the year, is still a concern.

“My hand wasn’t great coming into camp,” he said. “I feel like I hurt [the hand] again in the second round.” Against Herring, who entered the ring afterward to congratulate him, the former two-weight champion will need two good mitts if he hopes to become the first fighter from Ireland to win world titles in three different divisions. Kenny Bayless refereed.

Carl Frampton
Frampton is a level above Mikey Williams/Top Rank

How can you not be disgusted with Andres Gutierrez, who flagrantly came in 11bs over the contracted 130lbs limit for his WBC super-featherweight final eliminator against Oscar Valdez? Promoter Bob Arum was so outraged that he cancelled the fight and promised never to promote Gutierrez again. Bizarre happenings are no stranger to Gutierrez, who previously pulled out of a fight against Frampton when he injured himself while taking a shower.

Adam Lopez stepped up to save the day, and despite getting stopped in the seventh round of their scheduled 10, covered himself in glory. Lopez was in shape, having been scheduled to box Luis Coria on the undercard.

With a sweetened purse and a confidence that he could actually defeat Valdez, Lopez jumped at the opportunity. At the end it was not meant to be for Lopez, but he threw quite a scare into his fellow Californian, dropping the former WBO 126lbs champion heavily with a left uppercut in the second round and outboxing him for good portions of the contest – even though judges Dave Moretti at 58-55 and Glen Feldman at 57-56 had Valdez in front. Max De Luca saw Lopez up 57-56.

Valdez’s punch bailed him out in the end. A left hook dropped Lopez in the seventh. He got up shaken, tried to fight back, but was ultimately overpowered. Referee Russell Mora intervened at 2-53 with Lopez on the defensive after getting hit with a few hard blows. The third man came under criticism for what many were calling a premature stoppage, but to this observer Mora’s intervention was justified.

A bloodied Patrick Teixeira, behind after six rounds and seemingly in trouble in the seventh, lashed out with a right uppercut to drop Carlos Adames late in the session. From there the tide turned and the Brazilian took control. Adames, from the Dominican Republic, did not have the drive down the stretch.

At the end of 12 rounds of a splendid fight, the knockdown proved to be the difference in the unanimous decision win for Teixeira. Judges Glenn Trowbridge and Julie Lederman had it 114-113, Tim Cheatham 116-111. Robert Byrd refereed.

With the victory Teixeira won the WBO’s interim super welterweight title.

He is expected to be elevated to its regular world champion if Jaime Munguia vacates the crown.

The Verdict Frampton sheds some rust in anticipation of a world title crack next time out.