Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, former super bantamweight champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (21-0, 14 KOs), from Belfast, Northern Ireland, outpointed reigning and defending WBA Super 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.
The final scores were 116-112 ,117-111, and 114-114.
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.
Carl Frampton has it all. 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.
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 wanted to be in a fight people would remember,” said Frampton after the fight. “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.”
The feeling is mutual.
“He’s a great champion,” said Santa Cruz about Frampton, “and he’s got a very difficult style. It was tough fight. I thought it was close. It’s hard to forget your first loss but I will go back to the gym and get a rematch.
“Let’s make a rematch, I’ll go to Belfast.”
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.