By Anthony Cocks
Australian featherweight contender Luke “Action” Jackson 16-0 (7) has been putting in work.
The 33-year-old Tasmanian has sparred 120 rounds ahead of his clash with interim WBO featherweight champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton 25-1 (14) at Belfast’s Windsor Park on Saturday 18 August.
But just as importantly, he has been chipping away at the psyche of Frampton on social media and in the press. The former super bantamweight and featherweight champion clearly feels slighted by what he sees as the lack of respect afforded to him by the confident Aussie.
“Across the board he is phenomenal, but I don’t think he is as good as he once was,” explained Jackson.
“In the first fight against Leo Santa Cruz he boxed out of his skin and deserved to win, but he hasn’t looked the same since.
“Carl is a very good fighter who does everything good, but I don’t honestly think he does anything great.”
If anyone can feel slighted though, perhaps it should be Jackson.
In the week leading up to the fight Frampton has openly discussed his post-Windsor Park plans. Fights against local rival and IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington, full WBO champion Oscar Valdez or a rubbermatch with Leo Santa Cruz are all in his future, he says.
Rather than being done at the top level, Frampton insists he is a different class of fighter to the London Olympian.
“He can say what he wants, but he has never boxed at the level I have boxed at,” snapped Frampton, who is coming of a win over faded former four-division world champion Nonito Donaire. “We talk about levels in this game and there are different levels. I have boxed at a very high level for a long time.
“This is the first time he has mixed it at a high level and he is not going to be able to cope, especially coming to Belfast.
“I don’t read into odds, but I imagine I am a strong favourite. The bookies haven’t got it wrong because basically I want to do a number on this guy.
“He has been slightly disrespectful with the things he has said. He has tried to backtrack, but the bottom line is that he has said these things.
“He has made his bed and he has to lay in it. He is getting it – he really is.”
While Frampton is watching the odds and responding to Jackson’s comments, the Billy Hussein-trained boxer shrugs it all off.
“We are going to punch each other in the head. I don’t really care if what I say upsets him,” said Jackson.
“I respect him as a fighter, I respect him as a man but I am coming to beat him, not coming over to be friends.
“I don’t know if he wants me to call him a Hall of Fame fighter or the greatest, but I don’t think he is.
“He is very beatable and I think I can beat him, simple as that.”
Drops of rain, they say, wears down a stone.