Plenty was written about the build-up to Leo Santa Cruz’s defence of the WBA featherweight title against Carl Frampton over the summer as the fighter struggled to deal with his father’s serious illness.
Jose Santa Cruz, an integral part of his son’s corner, battled cancer during training camp and was present as Frampton upset the odds to become two-weight world title holder at the Barclays Center in New York. Yet Frampton’s decision win still hasn’t convinced pundits, as Cruz is favoured to edge a decision win when the duo meet again.
Leo blamed a lack of focus on Frampton due to his father’s ailment as a contributing factor in going down to a first career loss and vowed to put everything possible into his efforts to regain the championship against Frampton.
As Jose recovers on the back of getting the all clear to train his son from doctors, Santa Cruz will be highly motivated to put on a better showing.
On the back of two tough and lengthy title battles in 2016 against Scott Quinn and then Santa Cruz, Frampton goes straight into the contacted second fight in the New Year and will have a much more switched on opponent come fight night.
Las Vegas is yet to be officially confirmed as the venue but it’s highly likely the MGM Grand will play host to Frampton v Santa Cruz II as the pair battle it out as part of a magnificent few month of boxing presented by US network Showtime.
The winner of next month’s ‘regular’ title bout between Jesus Cuellar and Abner Mares could then lie in wait for Frampton or Santa Cruz in the summer of 2017 before a massive unification against Lee Selby, Vasyl Lomachenko or Gary Russell Jr. at the end of next year.