A Star Is Born: Frampton Outsmarts Santa Cruz

By Robert Ecksel on July 31, 2016
A Star Is Born: Frampton Outsmarts Santa Cruz
The action was back and forth, but Leo got the worst of it. (Photo: Anthony Geathers)

“I had a good game plan. But I won it with my heart, not with my head, and I got my hand raised. I won … because I didn’t lose control …”

Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a fight televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing, former super bantamweight champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (21-0, 14 KOs), the sweet scientist from Belfast, Northern Ireland, outpointed reigning and defending WBA World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs), from Los Angeles by way of Huetamo, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico, handing “El Terremoto” his first loss as a professional.

Fighting out of the red corner in light blue trunks, Frampton was the underdog looking to make history.

Santa Cruz, fighting out of the blue corner in white trunks with gold trim, is impossible not to like. He always comes forward. He loves to fight.

But a pattern developed early in the fight and persisted to the end. There were deviations depending on the action, but it appeared, even in the opening rounds, that Frampton was going to win.

He has fast hands and feet. He fights moving forward. He can fight going back. He can get off first or counterpunch. He goes to the head and body. He will mix it up. He will make you miss. He will beat you to the punch.

Carl Frampton has it all.

Frampton staggered Santa Cruz with a left hook in round two and asserted his superiority as the rounds progressed. The action was back and forth and thrilling, but Santa Cruz got the worst of it, it wasn’t even close.

“I had a good game plan,” said Frampton after the fight. “But I won it with my heart, not with my head, and I got my hand raised. I won … because I didn’t lose control.”

“I earned his respect early in the fight with my distance control and hard punching.”

Frampton is mapping his career like a cartographer maps uncharted territory.

“I wanted to be in a fight people would remember,” he said. “I wanted to be in with true champions like Leo Santa Cruz. This guy is a three-weight world champion. He is a true warrior and I respect him a hell of a lot.”

Santa Cruz thought he had done enough to earn the nod.

“It was a tough fight from the beginning,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I thought it was close when I’m in there throwing. Maybe the judges were hearing the crowd and thought that every little punch was scoring.”

But Leo has nothing but respect for Frampton’s performance.

Santa Cruz landed 255 of 1,002 punches thrown (25%). Frampton was more precise, landing 242 of 668 (36%).

“He’s a great champion,” said Santa Cruz, “and he’s got a very difficult style. It’s hard to forget your first loss but I will go back to the gym and get a rematch.”

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  1. No10Count 11:12am, 08/01/2016

    Very good fight.

    Not sure I agree Old Yank about Russel Jr. 
    It is a fight I would like to watch but think the Selby fight would come before Russel.  Allot more $ in the Selby fight.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:40am, 07/31/2016

    Paulie whining about Shreck’s scorecard because that Guido Cavalleri ringer he brought back from Italy turned in the shit card of the night.

  3. Pete The Sneak 11:24am, 07/31/2016

    Great fight! Congrats to Mr. Frampton. He did win with his heart, but also quite a bit of boxing skill and endurance as Old Yank mentioned. Yes, a fight with him and Selby would be huge out there across the Pond. Carl also showed a great deal of class and respect for Leo in the Post fight interview. Already making him one of my faves. Was also good to see another of my all time faves, Barry McGuigan. Looks like he knew there was something special in Frampton, that being a bit of Barry McGuigan…Peace.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:10am, 07/31/2016

    I was way wrong on Carl….his talent and desire….way wrong! Good thing I didn’t Uber it over to the Silverado sports book like I had planned. Hell, maybe I should have gone anyway, CG Technologies runs that shop and those buggers have been known to take bets on UFC and boxing bouts that are over and the winners hand has already been raised. One caveat here….don’t even think about a return bout….just keep moving forward Carl.

  5. Old Yank 08:49am, 07/31/2016

    Great, sturdy, endurance-testing performance against the best for Frampton.
    If he can best Lee Selby and look as good, he’s a Fighter of the Year candidate. In my opinion, Gary Russell, Jr. won’t last 8 with Frampton.

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