Josh Warrington predicted that Carl Frampton would be faced with retirement if he loses their IBF featherweight bout on Saturday, saying the Belfast fighter is on the verge of a “pipe-and-slippers moment”.
Warrington warned that the stakes for Frampton are at their height ahead of a huge world-title encounter which is being billed as the UK’s fight-of-the-year.
Warrington will attempt to follow up his IBF win over Lee Selby in May by scalping Britain’s top-ranked featherweight at Manchester Arena this weekend, a contest which Warrington believes could mark the end of Frampton’s career.
Frampton, who turns 32 in February, is attempting to reclaim the status of world champion almost two years after relinquishing the WBA featherweight belt he won in 2016. His 27-fight career, which began a decade ago, has made him one of the most recognisable faces in British boxing but Warrington, who became world champion for the first time by defeating Selby, claimed Frampton would have few avenues left open to him if he fails to win Saturday’s fight.
The 28-year-old said Frampton could move up to super-featherweight and seek a meeting with fellow Belfast puncher and IBF holder James Tennyson but questioned whether Frampton had the desire to fight in the face of a loss on Saturday night.
“The only thing he does is move up to super-feather and maybe have maybe a big fight with James Tennyson,” Warrington said.
But if you want to create a legacy and keep on having the big fights – which he says he wants to do – he shouldn’t be thinking about retirement.Josh Warrington
“That’s the only potential fight he could have, a big Belfast one.
“If he loses to me and downplays me winning it’s going to be embarrassing.
“He can turn round and say ‘Josh is a good fighter, he deserves this, he’s a world champion and it’s no disgrace’ but I think it’ll be a pipe-and-slipper moment after that.”
Warrington has a perfect record after 27 contests and produced the biggest result of his career in May when he came through a bloody bout with Selby to earn a split decision in front of a packed Elland Road.
Asked what his next move would be if Frampton beats him, Warrington joked: “I’d probably have a few months on the p***, drowning my sorrows.
“But I don’t think about that. I only think about going forward and winning.”
At a press conference in Manchester yesterday Frampton, who was embroiled in an acrimonious split with former mentors Barry and Shane McGuigan last year, admitted that he “f****** hated” boxing around the time of his last world title clash with Leo Santa Cruz in 2017.
He denied that he had ever considered quitting the sport.
But admitted his initial plan had been to retire around his 32nd birthday, which falls in two months time.
“I never thought of packing it in but five or six years ago I thought 32 was about the limit for me,” Frampton said.
“I didn’t want to be doing it anymore but that’s all changed. Why would you pack something in while you’re performing at your best?
“I want this title more than I’ve ever wanted a title. There are people out there who doubted me and people think I’m done. This will be me sticking my fingers up to them.”
Warrington, though, maintained that the prospect of ending his career was on Frampton’s mind.
“Let’s have it right, he’s done that documentary ‘Return of the Jackal’ and for about five minutes of that he started talking about retirement,” Warrington said. “He’s mentioned it many, many times in interviews.
“When you’re on top of your game or when you’re at the peak of your career, feeling as good as you have, you shouldn’t be thinking like that. You shouldn’t be thinking about retirement.
“I don’t think ‘I’m going to retire now. You maybe retire because you’ve had a £10m fight or you don’t want to be punched in the head no more
“But if you want to create a legacy and keep on having the big fights – which he says he wants to do – he shouldn’t be thinking about retirement.
“With him saying that stuff, it’ll be there subconsciously in his mind. That asks questions for me. Okay, he’s had a good camp but when it comes to the later rounds, when you’ve gone beyond the physical state into the mental state, there are times when you’re looking for any little thing to push you on.
“I don’t think he’ll have that anymore.”
Josh Warrington defends his IBF World Featherweight title against Carl Frampton exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office, Saturday December 22. Watch for just £19.95, for more info visit www.bt.com/sportboxoffice