"I understand where they’re coming from": Paddy Barnes on opponents rejecting him for second pro-fight

The former Olympian also explained why he thinks Carl Frampton will defeat Santa Cruz tonight

Paddy Barnes and Carl Frampton

©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd 

Paddy Barnes is heading for his second professional fight next month, as part of the Jamie Conlan undercard in Belfast.

But the two-time Olympic medallist is encountering difficulties with securing an opponent for the bout. Barnes marked his debut fight in the professional ranks with a win last November, when he defeated Stefan Slavchev in the Titanic Exhibition Centre.

The bout ended in bizarre circumstances when Slavchev lifted Barnes over his shoulder, prompting the referee to step in and disqualify the Bulgarian opponent. 

Barnes expressed his disappointment at how he earned his victory at the time, and criticised Slavchev for his behaviour in the ring.

While he's eager to resume his professional career at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on February 18th, locating an opponent is proving difficult for Barnes.

Speaking to Ger Gilroy on Off The Ball today, he said:

"I've asked for three opponents but it's hard to get their names to sign because I've only had one fight and they're looking at me and thinking, 'why would they wanna fight me.' It's hard to get the big names to fight me but I think there's an opponent lined up, I'm not too sure who he is. I don't think he’s one of the opponents that I wanted but it's still there."

"I'm training out in LA, getting the best training and sparring in the world so I can't wait to push on this year."

"I want to fight them but I understand where they’re coming from if they don't want to fight me because why would they want to fight someone has one fight on their record. I want to get a few more fights before these big names fight me."

Barnes also discussed his predictions for Carl Frampton's title fight rematch against Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas tonight. Frampton won the last encounter when the pair met in Brooklyn last summer, in which Santa Cruz suffered his first career defeat and simultaneously lost his WBA featherweight championship.

Barnes is confident that Frampton will triumph again tonight.

"I think it's gonna be a lot easier than the last fight because he knows how hard he (Santa Cruz) punches so I think Carl’s gonna press on and maybe even stop Santa Cruz late on."

"He would have watched Santa Cruz's fights, he would have studied tactics and how to fight him but it's a different ball game in the ring when the bell goes. But now he knows what Santa Cruz is about, in his head he knows what he can get away with, as regards taking punches. For me, Carl Frampton will be going in a more confident and a more relaxed figure."