By Anthony Cocks
WBO number five ranked featherweight Luke "Action" Jackson 16-0 (7) has hit back at claims from WBO interim champion Carl "The Jackal" Frampton 25-1 (14) that any Australian with a modicum of talent could represent the former British colony at the Olympic Games.
Jackson also suggested in another article that Frampton has looked sluggish and overweight in training.
Frampton is scheduled to make the first defense of the WBO interim featherweight title he won against former four-division world champion Nonito Donaire last April when he takes on Jackson at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland on August 18.
The interim title became available when WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez had his jaw broken by an overweight Scott Quigg in March, sidelining the Mexican world champion for the rest of the year.
A video interview was posted to promoter Frank Warren’s Twitter account last week that included a written quote from Jackson: “Donaire is a good fighter, but he’s finished… Carl Frampton hasn’t done what I have done as an amateur.”
Jackson, 33, was the captain of the Australian boxing team at the London Olympics after previously captaining the Commonwealth Games team at New Delhi in 2010. The undefeated Australian competed in 145 amateur bouts, recording 113 wins against 32 losses.
“Look, I respect Carl, I watched his fights against Leo Santa Cruz, the first one and the second one. I thought he fought the wrong fight the second fight. He was just trying too hard and nothing worked for him,” said Jackson in the video, which was filmed at Windsor Park after press conference to officially announce the fight.
“I’ve watched a few rounds of the Donaire fight and Donaire is a very, very good fighter, but he’s finished. He is not the Donaire that he once was. So a guy that knocked Donaire out, Nicholas Waters, I beat Waters in the amateurs. Now I’m not saying that I could beat Donaire or anything like that, but you understand what I mean.
“I’ve been in there with fighters that these guys have been in with. And amateur level, professional level, it’s all boxing. It’s hit and not get hit. And I’ve fought some very good fighters as an amateur.
“I’d be the first to say as a pro that I haven’t fought the guys that Carl Frampton has fought, obviously.
“But Carl Frampton hasn’t done what I’ve done as an amateur. He never represented his country at the Olympic Games.”
It was this last comment that got Frampton’s hackles up.
“I’m lucky it’s not amateur boxing then,” the 31-year-old Frampton tweeted in reply.
Not satisfied with his initial effort, he added: “Also, representing Australia in the Olympics is the equivalent of me having to be Co Antrim champion then beat the Isle of man in a qualifier”
It didn’t take long for the Tasmanian to return serve.
“So what happened Carl? Did you not beat the Isle of Man in the qualifier? Can’t remember seeing you at the Olympics!” said Jackson, whose best wins were over former world title challengers Silvester Lopez and John Mark Apolinario, both of the Philippines.
There is no question that Frampton marks a big step up in class for Jackson, who lives in Hobart but trains out of Sydney under the guidance of the highly-regard Billy Hussein, but it’s a fight that Jackson and his team are supremely confident of winning.
And at 33-years-old they are well aware that this might be the only shot that Jackson gets for world championship glory. Look for Jackson to lay it all on the line against Frampton.
An underdog with nothing to lose and everything to gain can be a dangerous proposition.