Carl Frampton recovers from early knock downs to beat Alejandro Gonzalez Jr
Last Updated: 19/07/15 1:53am
Carl Frampton was put down twice in the opening round but battled back to retain his IBF super bantamweight title with a wide-margin points win over Alejandro Gonzalez Jr in El Paso.
The Belfast fighter never looked like being stopped on either occasion but he found the lanky Gonzalez a tough opponent before his class and stamina shone through.
Mexican Gonzalez was also not helped by the deduction of points in the third and 11th round for hitting the Jackal with low blows.
Frampton went into the fight eager to impress the American public, but he must have wondered just what his future held after three minutes.
However he regained his composure in the second, although often struggling to cope with Gonzalez's major reach advantage, and the third saw the challenger lose his first point when Frampton winced in pain at a shot below the belt.
Frampton started to show his class in the middle rounds, consistently coming inside to pick off Gonzalez, although he was open to being caught more than he would have liked.
Gonzalez, who was losing for the third time in 29 fights, manfully tried to keep his fans excited, and the red marks around Frampton's face showed he was in a scrap, the likes of which many had not predicted.
But his work-rate and the quality of his punches became more accentuated as Gonzalez, who had not been beyond 10 rounds in his career, began to tire slightly.
And the judges at ringside were impressed enough to give Frampton the fight - the cards showing him 115-109, 116-108 and 116-108 winner.
Frampton said: "I don't know what happened. I just came out slow and it was a very soft canvas.
"But I need to give Alejandro Gonzalez so much credit - if you look at him he doesn't look like a big puncher but he can punch and he's a warrior.
"It was exciting. It wasn't the performance that I wanted. I don't want to make excuses but I took a little bit too much weight off the last couple of days.
"We need to decide what I am going to do from here, whether I stay at this weight or go to featherweight. I don't know."