Bookmakers are favoring Carl Frampton to take another victory over Leo Santa Cruz on January 28, although only by a tight margin with the majority of odds setters.
The Irishman is a best priced 4/6 to repeat his success of last summer, whilst Santa Cruz can be backed at 13/10 if you shop around for the top price with the high street betting shops.
Even though the Frampton v Santa Cruz betting doesn’t tell the whole story, the general consensus is that the former champion is much better equipped to deal with his nemesis after the recovery of his trainer and father, Jose.
Fighting cancer and not feeling well enough to help his son fully during preparations, Jose is now a full part of camp and Leo believes his tactical know-how will be essential to gaining revenge in just under two weeks time.
“I think I have to land more clean punches this time. I’m going to work the body more and break him down. I’m going to sit on my punches a lot better. I couldn’t land my punches clearly and with enough power,” explained Santa Cruz.
“I don’t think I had trouble adjusting to fighting on the East Coast. But there aren’t as many Mexican fans over there; so hopefully I will have some more support this time. None of that really matters once we get into the ring though. It’s just me and Carl in there.
“I have the loss in my head. I don’t just want to do it for myself. I want to do it for everyone who has doubted me. Once I prove them wrong and win this fight, then I’ll be proud of myself.
“I’m going to fight like this is for my first world title. I’m going up there as a nobody and I’m going to go make a name for myself. I’m coming with that kind of hunger.
“I’m going to show everyone what I’ve been working on. I want to prove that I’m better than Carl Frampton. If everything works out, we’ll get the victory.”
Jose himself added: “I am happy to be part of Leo’s training camp again.
“I think that was the major difference in his last fight. I’m back pressuring him again and making sure he keeps the pressure on his opponent.
“I think my presence in the gym reminds him of the work he needs to do,” he added.
A win for Santa Cruz could potentially set the wheels in motion for a trilogy contest in the latter part of 2017, something Frampton could push to take to Belfast, but which certainly wouldn’t go down well with the challenger’s team at Premier Boxing Champions.
California and Ireland have been off the table during venue negotiations between the pair in the past, whilst Frampton has promised a massive homecoming world title fight that could be further delayed should Santa Cruz manage to pull off what would be seen as an upset on the night.