Carl Frampton vs. Nonito Donaire Pick

Carl Frampton vs. Nonito Donaire Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, April 21, 2018
Where: SSE Arena, Belfast, Ireland
Weight Class: Featherweight
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper,

Carl Frampton, 24-1 (14 KOs), Belfast, Ireland
Nonito Donaire, 38-4 (24 KOs), San Leandro, California

Betting Odds: Carl Frampton (-900), Nonito Donaire (+600)

Carl Frampton and Nonito Donaire will duke it out in Belfast on April 21 in an important featherweight matchup of former champions. Frampton is in his second fight since losing a rematch to Leo Santa Cruz and looks to get closer to a rubber match or bigger things. Standing in his way is a fighter who many people feel is over-the-hill in former PFP entrant Nonito Donaire. The 35-year old comes into hostile territory and hopes the heavy hands that saw him once attain greatness will resurface in this spot. The 30-year old Frampton, meanwhile, is looking to thrill his local faithful with another rousing performance.

This is a battle of young vs. old, though Frampton is only four years younger at 31 than Donaire. The Filipino five-division champion has been fighting at the top levels since first winning a flyweight title in 2007. He has come up short in his last three biggest fights and is thought to be a good five years outside his prime. This is his last shot at the big-time. While always a massive talent with a dash of magic in his fists, does he still have the wherewithal to win at this level or is he yesterday’s news?

Frampton last fought in the venue, scoring a decision-win over Horatio Garcia. That was his first outing since losing to Leo Santa Cruz in their rematch in January 2017. Frampton won the first fight in Brooklyn, with Santa Cruz exacting revenge in LA. Both were majority decision-wins. There is no shame in splitting a pair of fights with the accomplished Santa Cruz and Frampton is looking to re-cement his standing as one of the world’s top fighters at or around this weight.

In terms of recent form, the edge squarely goes to Frampton. He beat some good fighters on his way up, followed by a nice run as 122-pound champion. In 2016, he began to really stand out as one of the top fighters in the world. A unification win over dangerous Scott Quigg set up his big showdown with Santa Cruz in a battle of unbeaten champions in Frampton’s first fight at 126 pounds. He scored the rousing win over Santa Cruz, was edged in the rematch, scored a nice win over Garcia, and here he is. A rubber match with Santa Cruz looms, with some other big-money opportunities is he can stay on the winning track.


Donaire has risen to heights that Frampton is still trying to reach. At his peak, he was near the top of a lot of pound-for-pound lists. The list of good fighters he has beaten is long. There were times where he was magical, his sudden and violent KOs of Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel standing out among the lot. From 2007-12, he was without peer in the lower weight classes, dominating from 112-122 pounds. But in 2012, a surprisingly one-sided loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux was the first sign of trouble. But Rigondeaux is so good that one might have been inclined to give Donaire a pass. But his decline came into plain view with a 2014 loss to Nicholas Walters. Four wins later, Donaire lost to young unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno. It was a close but clear win for the youngster and appeared to be the official close to Donaire’s stay at the top. A win later, Donaire is now hoping to prove that notion wrong.

Talent is one thing that you can’t neglect. Donaire is aging. And if were still meant to be at the top of the sport, he would have beaten Walters or Magdaleno. While fighters thrive with more regularity at an advanced age, Donaire is an old 35. He is still somewhat-rangy, but not very robust for a 126-pounder, having first reigned at 112 pounds. But at his best, he is a mega-talent.—a skilled boxer who can turn a guy’s lights out. There was a time where it would have been easy to picture him carving up Frampton like a turkey. While he may be over-the-hill, Frampton can’t afford to approach this fight with anything but utmost urgency.

Frampton, however, is no greenhorn. He has cut his teeth against a demanding roster of opposition. He has risen from knockdowns, recovered from being hurt, and won a huge fight across the pond against an unbeaten multi-time champion in Santa Cruz. He is very relaxed and poised in the ring. He has the calmness of mind to see everything coming. He’s not a fighter who is programmed, but one who relies on his instincts and powers of improvisation to thrive. He just fights in a very self-expressive manner. He has a lot of guts and a tremendous fighting spirit, definitely one of the more-talented fighters to come out of the boxing-rich history of Ireland. And fighting in Belfast would appear to be a huge advantage. Donaire might be the most-decorated fighter to come to Ireland to take on a home-champion. Over a 12-round distance, can he put enough distance between him and Frampton to get a decision? That seems problematic and he might need to KO Frampton.

Donaire hasn’t flashed the same power at this weight that he had in his glory days. He has been able to stop lesser competition, but at the top level at featherweight, he doesn’t have the same menace he once did. And Frampton isn’t an easy guy to catch. He doesn’t have great physical tools at 5’5″ with a 65-inch reach, but he thinks well in the ring. He’s quick both physically and mentally. He can launch sudden attacks that will get the crowd going and impress the judges. He moves really well and in a natural way that is hard for his opponents to pinpoint. He switches up gears on his punches, varying the velocity and power. Frampton’s style is flashy, but in a substantive way.

This is a tricky spot. An underdog position on Donaire can be substantiated on some levels. But I just feel it’s too much of an uphill battle and by the midway point, a Donaire win is going to all but out of the cards. At -900, Frampton’s value in this spot is dicey. The bet I’m going to be looking to make is a bet on the “under.” If Donaire is going to spring the upset, I see it being in the first 8 rounds. The more-likely route could be Frampton being too much for Donaire, with a late-stoppage being a viable choice. There is no total as of press-time, but if the total is 10.5 or higher at even-money type odds, then that will be the move I’m looking to make.

Loot’s Pick to Win the Fight: I’m betting the Frampton-Donaire fight will go “under,” with the total and price pending. Bet this fight for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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