Frampton to Honor Alejandro Gonzalez During Fight

There are few acts that lend one man to develop respect another than sharing the ring for 12 rounds. That’s why featherweight champion Carl Frampton was devastated last month when he learned his former opponent Alejandro Gonzalez was murdered in Mexico at the age of 23.

Gonzalez was killed 16 months after sharing the ring with Frampton, having been murdered alongside his grandfather and one other man in an apparent drug cartel hit.

"It was shocking to hear," Frampton told Boxing Scene. "It was a strange feeling when I actually heard the news because he was such a nice kid. And that’s how I remember them. I had a hard, hard fight with him, and I wasn’t expecting it to be a hard fight."

Frampton fought Gonzalez in a defense of his super-bantamweight title in what was his United States debut. The Irishman was expected to breeze through the fight with ease, but Gonzalez stunned Frampton early in the first round. Frampton went on to win the fight by unanimous decision, but he learned a valuable lesson from Gonzalez that night.

Still undefeated, Frampton will defend his new featherweight title in a rematch with former champion Leo Santa Cruz on Saturday in Las Vegas. When he enters the ring, he will be wearing a patch on his shorts that reads "Rest in peace, Cobrita", referring to Gonzalez’s nickname.

"It’s just to show my sign of respect for the guy," Frampton said. "When you share a ring with someone, you gain that respect that you don’t have for many other people, especially when you go 12 hard rounds. he’s someone that I respected and I just want to kind of pay my respects to him on fight night as well."

According to Frampton, he and Gonzalez maintained a speaking relationship after their fight in El Paso, Texas. Though Gonzalez did not beat Frampton when they faced off, the Belfast boxer says he owes much of his recent success to the lesson Gonzalez taught him that night.

"It made me never think about overlooking an opponent," he said. "I kind of got very complacent going into that fight, thinking it was going to be easy. That was a big mistake and I’ve learned from that. I think that fight was good for me because it made the Scott Quigg fight, it made the Leo Santa Cruz fight, because they thought they’d seen a vulnerability. I think that fight, for me, was a blessing in disguise."

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