Santa Cruz v Frampton: Expectations of a classic
Leo Santa Cruz competes in a twelfth world title fight on July 30 when the talented American-Mexican puts the WBA featherweight title on the line against Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton.
Undefeated in 33 contests and already a three-weight world champion, Santa Cruz aims to build on recent impressive victories over Abner Mares and Kiko Martinez against Frampton at the famous Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The 27 year-old has settled into the 126 pound limit after holding recognised belts previously at both 118 and 122 pounds, whilst Frampton, who is also unbeaten in 22 bouts, makes the move up from a unified position at super bantamweight.
Frampton, 29, came through his toughest test to date against UK-rival Scott Quigg in February, but is immediately pitched in against the dangerous Santa Cruz without the aid of a warm-up at the higher poundage.
Many expect the title holder Santa Cruz to successfully defend his crown next month as he has the size and experience advantage over Frampton, whilst ‘The Jackal’ will be looking to use the widespread underdog tag to his advantage.
Either way, it’s a top notch match-up between two of the best fighters around at the lower weights and has all the makings of a classic that will see the winner makes strides in the pound for pound rankings.
At the moment, Santa Cruz is ranked 13 on the WBN with Frampton at 25, both are currently behind divisional top dog and WBO ruler Vasyl Lomachenko. The Ukrainian recently won a second weight world title in just his seventh fight, although a unification with the winner of Santa Cruz v Frampton seems unlikely.
As Santa Cruz currently fights on rivals Showtime, making a mega-fight with HBO’s Lomachenko would prove difficult. As for Frampton, an upset win should see the Belfast man potentially move towards a two-belt battle with IBF champion Lee Selby.
Welshman Selby currently has ties to both Al Haymon and Sanigar Events, both of whom work closely with Frampton’s handler Barry McGuigan, and would raise huge interest in a two-belt collision with the British fans.