On Saturday, July 30, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a fight televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing, WBA World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) defends his title against former WBA World super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs).
Santa Cruz is a busy fighter. He is always coming forward. He is always throwing punches. He will take one to land one of his own. A titleholder in three divisions, Santa Cruz is one of boxing’s top three fighters in four categories:
- Total Punches Thrown
- Total Punches Landed
- Connect Percentage
- Power Punches Landed
The numbers, courtesy of Showtime, indicate that Santa Cruz is among the best punchers in the world, better than Gennady Golovkin and Manny Pacquiao, and just a hair’s breadth behind Roman “Chocolito” Gonzalez in the Power Punches Landed department.
Santa Cruz ranks as boxing’s best in the Plus/Minus category. That statistical measure is determined by subtracting the connect percentages of two opposing fighters. Santa Cruz is ranked number one (+15.8% per fight), followed by Andre Ward (+15.3), Gennady Golovkin (+15.2), Erislandy Lara (+14.5), Terence Crawford (+13.2), Roman Gonzalez (+12.5) and Canelo Alvarez (+12).
Santa Cruz’s greatest strength ties in nicely with Frampton’s defensive attributes. In his last six fights, Frampton’s opponents landed just 29.2 percent of their power punches. By contrast, Santa Cruz landed a whopping 46.9 percent of his power shots over his last eight fights.
Frampton ranks in the top 10 of opponents’ power punches connected, meaning he eludes his opposition’s power shots using movement, speed, and a high ring IQ. Frampton ranks No. 10 in a group that includes master boxers Guillermo Rigondeaux, Erislandy Lara, Wladimir Klitschko, Andre Ward and Terence Crawford.
When it comes to average number of jabs thrown per round, Frampton ranks second best behind Jesus Cuellar (No. 1), ahead of Rigondeaux (No. 5), Golovkin (No. 6), Crawford (No. 7) and Kell Brook (No. 8), and Santa Cruz who is ranked No. 9.
Below is the list of categories where Santa Cruz and Frampton excel:
PLUS/MINUS (Hitting vs. Getting Hit)
Santa Cruz ranks as No. 1, followed by Andre Ward (No. 2), Gennady Golovkin (No. 3), Erislandy Lara (No. 4), Terence Crawford (No. 5), Roman Gonzalez (No. 6) and Canelo Alvarez (No. 7).
TOTAL PUNCHES THROWN
Leo Santa Cruz only trails Roman Gonzalez in terms of total punches thrown per round. Santa Cruz (No. 2) tops Jesus Cuellar (No. 3), Juan Francisco Estrada (No. 6), Orlando Salido (No. 7) and Gennady Golovkin (No. 9). Santa Cruz throws 84.6 total punches per round, compared to boxing’s overall average of 55.5.
TOTAL PUNCHES LANDED
Santa Cruz trails Roman Gonzalez by less than two percent, connecting at 33.1 percent compared to the overall average of 16.9. At No. 2, Santa Cruz tops Gennady Golovkin (No. 3) and Juan Francisco Estrada (No. 4). Santa Cruz’s average more than doubles the CompuBox average punches of 16.9 landed per round.
TOTAL CONNECT PERCENTAGE
Santa Cruz is among the top three in total connect percentage. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is No. 1, followed by Golovkin, Santa Cruz, Roman Gonzalez, Adrien Broner and Andre Ward. At 39.2 percent, Santa Cruz landed at a nearly 10 percent higher rate than the overall average.
POWER PUNCHES LANDED
Santa Cruz ranks No. 2 in this category, trailing only Roman Gonzalez by a slim margin and topping Juan Francisco Estrada (No. 3), Abner Mares (No. 5), Golovkin (No. 7) and Pacquiao (No. 8).
JABS THROWN PER ROUND
Santa Cruz and Frampton both rank in the top 10 in average number of jabs thrown per round.
Frampton is ranked No. 2 behind Jesus Cuellar, by a single percentage point, but is ranked higher than Rigondeaux (No. 5), Golovkin (No. 6), Crawford (No. 7) and Brook (No. 8). Santa Cruz is ninth best in this category. Frampton throws 13 more jabs per round than the overall average.
There are components in every fighter’s arsenal that are beyond calculation, such as will to win, hometown advantage, and the possibility of having an off night, to name a few. And while numbers do not lie, they do not tell the whole story, which is as good a reason as any to tune in to Saturday’s blockbuster fight between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.