Frampton-Santa Cruz II Set for January
Carl Frampton (23-0) will face Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1) in a rematch of their thrilling first fight, Frampton has confirmed on social media.
Frampton defeated Santa Cruz in July of this year, taking the WBA featherweight championship in an exciting Fight of the Year candidate. The fight went to a majority decision after twelve rounds, as one of the judges scored the bout a 114-114 draw. In the end it was Frampton whose hand was raised, despite landing less overall punches than Santa Cruz.
EDIT: Lance Pugmire of The LA Times has confirmed that the bout will take place on Jan. 28 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and will be televised by Showtime.
A WBC lightweight title fight between champion Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs) and Mikey Garcia (35-0, 29 knockouts) will serve as the co-main event.
The first fight between Frampton and Santa Cruz took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but Santa Cruz felt that the crowd and judges were bias in Frampton’s favor. If a rematch is to be made for the end of this year, it is unlikely that Frampton’s wish of a fight in Belfast will be granted.
“I think we’ve just got to wait for TV really and the venue," Frampton’s trainer Shane McGuigan told Boxing News. "I think we’ll have some news soon. It’s looking more like it’s going to be a Santa Cruz rematch. I want that fight. I want him to fight Santa Cruz in a rematch but I don’t see Santa Cruz coming over here because he said Frampton had home advantage with the judges [even though they boxed in New York]. He’s from Belfast.”
While Frampton was a slight underdog in the first fight against Santa Cruz, McGuigan believed that the fight would be less close than it ended up being. In fact, he believed Frampton was going to knock Santa Cruz out to claim the title. If the two fight, McGuigan believes that the fight-ending shot will land for Frampton.
“I thought he’d have gone, to be honest," he said. "I thought Carl would be able to knock him out. But I think if we get him in the return I’m confident Carl can knock him out. Carl hit him clean a few times but a lot of the time they were diffused by Santa Cruz’s arms. He’s got a very tight defence. He hit Frampton flush, 15, 20 times, clean on the chin. Never budged Carl once. So Carl can go into the next fight with a lot of confidence."