Santa Cruz Outclasses Frampton

By Robert Ecksel on January 29, 2017
Santa Cruz Outclasses Frampton
“I always fight for the fans,” said Santa Cruz, “but tonight I fought for myself too.” (AP)

Leo Santa Cruz got his revenge Saturday night by decisioning previously unbeaten Carl Frampton over 12 hard-fought rounds…

Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs), the former three-division champion from Rosemead, California, by way of Huetamo, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico, got his revenge by decisioning previously unbeaten Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs), from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to reclaim the WBA Super World featherweight title.

The final scores were scores were 115-113 twice and 114-114.

It was a scintillating fight from start to finish. Both fighters went at it at the opening bell and never let up.

Fighting out of the red corner in red and gold trunks, Santa Cruz fought tactically. Unlike their fight in July, Leo put his advantages in height and reach to good use by fighting working the jab and engaging the former champion from a distance.

Frampton, fighting out of the blue corner in white trunks with grey trim, tried his best to get inside, but Santa Cruz, who displayed exceptional discipline, stuck to his game plan and fought patiently, making adjustments as the fight progressed.

Many of the rounds were close. Leo controlled the action for the most part by fighting smart, but Frampton was always in it and finished strong.

Had the fight been in Northern Ireland instead of Las Vegas, the decision might have gone the other way. But Frampton, who along with Santa Cruz is one of boxing’s class acts, had no complains about the decision. He and his trainer Shane McGuigan accepted the verdict and look forward to the rubber match.

“I think it was the right decision,” said Frampton after the fight. “I thought it was close. He frustrated me at times. I didn’t expect that game plan. The boxer got outboxed by the brawler. I hope we can do it again, it was a close fight.”

It was as close as the scores indicated, but Frampton, who suffered his first defeat, took his loss like a man.

“I have got no excuses,” he said. “I feel I want to say sorry. I feel like I have let everyone down. The best man won on the night. I am gutted. It was my fault.

“He was very clever and he used his reach. I think he deserved it. I’m being honest. But it was a very good fight.”

If the two men fight again, which looks inevitable, “The Jackal” would like to get it on with Leo in Belfast.

“I hope he is a man of his word and we can do it in Belfast,” Frampton said. “I have come to the States twice. We could do it four, five, six times. I hope we do it again.”

Santa Cruz was listening and a third fight would please him mightily.

“Of course I want a rematch,” he said. “I am a man of my word and I said if I won I would give him the trilogy. We are both great fighters, we deserve it and let’s go again.

“Before the fight, I said I wanted revenge. I went to the gym and I worked hard and did what I had to do. I fought a great fighter and let’s make a third fight. He is a great fighter and a great counterpuncher. My head was telling me to go forward and pressure him, but my dad and corner were telling me to box him. That’s what I had to do. I always fight for the fans, but tonight I fought for myself too.”

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  1. tuxtucis 12:33am, 02/04/2017

    I’m so happy that happened!
    Rarely I’ve seen “end of year final awrds” as idiot as in 2016. Those who choosen Frampton as fighter of the year did something totally wrong. The fighter is not in tha class of Lomachenko, Gonzales or Crowaford who would have deserved the award far more. Not to say Khan ko by Alvarez voted as ko of the year: a glass chinned lightweight koed by a natural superwelterweight. Please, shut up…

  2. raxman 11:33pm, 01/29/2017

    Anyone else think /notice young McGuigan being totally out of his depth?
    it was the first time he’s ever been in the situation where Frampton was fighting from behind on the score cards,. and for mine, he didn’t handle the pressure at all, and I know some may say that McGuigan trained CF to foty last year but its when adversity hits, that truth comes out. I could train a fighter of Frampton’s skill to a world title if in every fight he keeps winning rounds!!!
    Here between every round he had a different instruction, and I’m fairly sure Frampton stopped listening to him after the half way mark
    So should Frampton changes trainers I for one wont be surprised.
    Perhaps McGuigan is good in the gym - although I always worry when top level fighters don’t have an immediate Plan B to switch too, the greats have Plans C & D as well!
    one of the best corner men, as far as round break instructions, both the way he sees the fight, and the clarity with which he explains what he is seeing and wants from his fighter is Robbie McCracken
    A Frampton/McCracken combination would be nigh unstoppable
    but any of the many great UK based trainers would do - I just would hate to see a Kelly Pavlik situation where he stuck with his hometown trainer Jack “Double your Jab” Loew

  3. Koolz 03:40pm, 01/29/2017

    That was something!  Cruz used his distance a lot better and his reach in this fight.  Was able to catch Frampton as he had to try and close that distance.
    It was quite a war!  Don’t see a third fight happening.
    Catching up on my boxing.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:06am, 01/29/2017

    White guys have to hit hard in this sport in order to survive and even harder to make a fighter like Leo get a little drowsy and settle down before nap time….Carl from Belfast hits just hard enough to make Leo from Huetamo fight all the harder.

  5. Kid 09:03am, 01/29/2017

    What an incredible night of boxing. Each of the main fights on the separate networks was a great one. Garcia’s KO was scary. This bout was compelling. And the stuff on HBO was savage and bloody. This night was a boxing fan’s dream. I was going back and forth with the clicker so that I could see everything. Just a great, great night and one that could provide a FOTY and KO of the year. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I got this one right.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:57am, 01/29/2017

    There won’t be a third leg, at least not right away. Belfast….you mean in Northern Ireland? Leo, who said he felt more comfy fighting in Las Vegas, NV USA as a opposed to Brooklyn, NY USA for Christ’s sake, will beat up someone else in the meantime. Leo’s people are way the fuk more smarter than Carl’s….they know that winning is way the fuk more important than putting up a good show if you want to make some real money in this “sport”.

  7. Pete The Sneak 08:13am, 01/29/2017

    Bob, nicely put…Terrific fight indeed by 2 guys you truly root for. I do hope that Leo goes to Belfast for the 3rd fight. It would be a humongous event out there and the crowd would be insane…Peace.

  8. Bob 07:08am, 01/29/2017

    Terrific fight between two very classy individuals with great back stories and much humility. What a breath of fresh air!  Boxing at its best.

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