Irish boxing supreme Carl Frampton will be making a departure from 122 pounds this weekend to take on WBA Featherweight champ Leo Santa Cruz. Frampton, who became the unified IBF and WBA champ at 122 after outpointing Scott Quigg in February, will be in with a tough, established and notably rangier fighter.
This bout is meaningful for the division plus the stock of both men; Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is becoming a hotbed for big fights, and a victory will add plenty of momentum to the victor’s career. These guys are undefeated, which adds a little more pop, so the cliché ‘someone’s O has got to go’ definitely applies. If Michael Buffer is in town, I’m sure he’ll remind us all of that.
Frampton is coming off a career-defining win against the aforementioned Quigg, a fight that showcased his top-drawer punch selection and grit when dragged into a war. Frampton is one of the most polished athletes in today’s fight game, and his eye-catching power and tight, accurate combinations have garnered him a great deal of praise in the UK, particularly in his native Northern Ireland.
Frampton may have a little unfinished business at 122 pounds against the likes of Cuban technician Guillermo Rigondeaux, but really, nobody seems to mind too much right now. Fight fans aren’t exactly crowing for that fight, and hey, should the demand suddenly make itself known, there’s no reason a future showdown couldn’t come together.
Check out FightHub’s Carl Frampton Media Workout as he prepares for Santa Cruz:
Leo Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, a three-weight champion hailing from Mexico, was last in action defending his WBA strap against Kiko Martinez in February. Santa Cruz looked impressive en route to a 5th round TKO, but had been expected to cut down Martinez, an all-action fringe contender who’d endured savage battles with Frampton (twice) and Quigg, sooner or later.
It may have been a mismatch, but Santa Cruz’s previous toe-to-toe scrap with former Featherweight champ Abner Mares was anything but. Santa Cruz turned in a sound decision in their August battle, which was immediately considered a Fight of the Year contender, and finally shook off many of his detractors who’d branded him an overly protected pretender.
Check out EsNews’ Leo Santa Cruz Workout as he prepares for Frampton:
So what will the story be when Frampton vs Santa Cruz gets underway? That is no easy question to answer, and all the more so since Frampton will be making his Featherweight debut. Frampton looks like the more naturally talented, overall sharper specimen on paper, but he’s going to be mixing it up with a strong, long and lean opponent who carries 3” height and 7” wingspan advantages.
Santa Cruz is a big guy, we know he can fight, and there’s still this lingering feeling we’re yet to see the best of him. So this matchup is certainly intriguing. Yes, because two excellent fighters will be trading blows, but mainly because of that Santa Cruz reach business. I’d be dumbfounded if the champ doesn’t plan on controlling Frampton with a spearing jab, so with that said, Frampton will naturally have no choice but to slip punches to get inside and do damage. With Frampton effectively in the danger zone every time he throws, this should produce a lot of fan-friendly drama.
We know right off the bat that Frampton, who defeated long-levered Scott Quigg, can deal with rangy fighters. But it’s not so cut and dry as that; Quigg threw away far too many rounds in that fight trying to counter with a game-changer, while Santa Cruz tends to be a less cagey fighter who prefers to keep busy with his hands. Really, anything could happen on Saturday, and again, that’s what makes it so darn interesting.
On a final note, if we’re talking about weaknesses, there doesn’t seem to be anything too glaring. We can’t concentrate too hard on Santa Cruz since his only true threat has been Abner Mares, but Frampton’s wrinkles ‘could’ be his chin/susceptibility to body shots. Personally, I don’t subscribe to the theory that there’s anything particularly spotty about his whiskers or mid-section.
Sure, Frampton was knocked down by an unrecognized Alejandro Gonzalez in his US debut, and yeah, was hurt a few times courtesy of Quigg’s body shots. But does that mean the guy can’t take a punch? Frampton seemed to underestimate Gonzalez, who has considerable pop, got caught and therefore paid the price, and as for Quigg’s body shots, well, the guy is a huge puncher known for hurting his opponents. So, when Quigg nails you, it’s gonna do damage, right?
Fight Time & TV Channel
You can catch Frampton vs Santa Cruz Live on Saturday, July 30th, from 7:00pm ET on Showtime / 2:00am GMT on Boxnation.
Frampton vs Santa Cruz: Undercard
- Amanda Serrano vs Calixta Silgado – 10 rounds, WBO Featherweight Championship
- Sergey Rabchenko vs Tony Harrison – 12 rounds, Junior Middleweight
- Mikey Garcia vs Elio Rojas – 10 rounds, Junior Welterweight
- Paulie Malignaggi vs Gabriel Bracero – 10 rounds, Welterweight
- Ivan Redkach vs Tevin Farmer – 10 rounds, Lightweight
Frampton vs Santa Cruz: Extended Tale of the Tape, Facts & Stats
Note: Advantageous stats are indicated in red (some may be subjective), and championship stats refer to ‘fully fledged world titles’ only.
Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz
Northern Ireland, UK … Huetamo, Mexico
29 … 27
5’ 5” … 5′ 8″
62″ … 69″
Orthodox … Orthodox
2009 … 2006
22 … 33
Wins / Defeats / Draws / KOs
22-0, 14 KO … 32-0-1, 18 KO
64% (14) … 55% (18)
Last 5 Fights
5-0, 2 KO … 5-0, 3 KO
Last 10 Fights
10-0, 6 KO … 10-0, 5 KO
1st – 3rd Round Knockouts
7 … 9
4th – 6th Round Knockouts
5 … 6
Defeats by Knockout
0 … 0
2 … 0
128 … 192
4 … 5
Current Winning Streak
22 … 33
Undefeated Fighters Defeated
4 … 3
Scott Quigg (SD 12) … Kiko Martinez (TKO 5)
World Title Bout Experience
Wins / Defeats / Draws / KOs
4-0, 1 KO … 11-0, 6 KO
3 … 8
Longest Championship Reign
09//2014 – 02/2016 … 08/2013 – 01/2015
Major Titles Won
IBF, WBA (122 lbs) … IBF (118 lbs), WBC (122), WBA (126)
Major Titles Currently Held
IBF, WBA (122 lbs) … WBA (126 lbs)
Boxing Base Top 10 World Ranking
No.2 (122 lbs) … No.2 (126 lbs)
FRAMPTON: Scott Quigg (SD 12), Alejandro Gonzalez Jr (UD 12), Chris Avalos (TKO 5), Kiko Martinez (KO 9, UD 12), Hugo Fidel Cazares (KO 2), Jeremy Parodi (KO 6), Steve Molitor (TKO 6), Raul Hirales (UD 12), Prosper Ankrah (KO 2), Kris Hughes (TKO 7)
SANTA CRUZ: Kiko Martinez (TKO 5), Abner Mares (MD 12), Jose Cayetano (UD 10), Jesus Ruiz (TKO 8), Manuel Roman (TKO 2), Cristian Mijares (UD 12), Cesar Seda (UD 12), Victor Terrazas (KO 3), Alexander Munoz (TKO 5), Alberto Guevara (UD 12), Victor Zaleta (TKO 9), Eric Morel (RTD 5), Vusi Malinga (UD 12), Jose Lopez (KO 5), Stephane Jamoye (KO 6)
(KO 9, UD 12) … Kiko Martinez … (TKO 5)
What’s your take on BB’s Frampton vs Santa Cruz Preview, Tale of the Tape, Facts & Stats? And how do you see the action playing out at the weekend? We’ll have Live Results Coverage here on Boxing Base, plus Live Round by Round Updates via Twitter (@BoxingBase).