Richie Woodhall reckons Carl Frampton must secure a third fight with Leo Santa Cruz at all costs as the two get set to discuss the issue in Cannock.
Frampton was first dealt a blow after Santa Cruz claimed he’s been told to reject any notion of a trilogy being settled on his opponent’s turf, writes Craig Birch.
The Northern Irishman, Steve Collins and Woodhall will all be on stage in the Premier Suite at Bar Sport, for ‘An Evening With’ show, on Thursday March 23.
The three former world champions will discuss boxing matters at length with pundit Woodhall, from Telford, the interviewer for a question and answer session.
Frampton will be accompanied in Cannock by his coach Shane McGuigan, who had the last say in the David Haye versus Tony Bellew blockbuster.
McGuigan threw in the towel to save Haye in the 11th round as Bellew – also a previous visitor to Bar Sport – pulled off a shock upset TKO.
Frampton is also looking to bounce back, too, having lost the WBA ‘super’ featherweight title to Santa Cruz, with both bouts taking place in the United States.
The WBA have also cast doubt on whether a trio of clashes will happen, with president Gilberto Mendoza suggesting the organisation may order Santa Cruz to defend against Abner Mares.
‘The Jackal’ honoured his promise to give the Mexican a rematch after their first tussle last July, in New York, and had the tables turned on him after he was outpointed on January 28 in Las Vegas.
The two have now both taken each other’s ‘0’ over the contests and Frampton is determined to settle the score by touching gloves one more time.
But Santa Cruz has revealed his father Jose, who is also his trainer, has advised him not to come to Frampton’s homeland of Belfast for such a match.
That means Frampton, a year older than his rival at 29, will probably have to travel back across the pond if he gets the chance to exact his revenge.
Respected commentator and analyst Woodhall believes Frampton must do whatever is necessary to attract the now two-time holder of the belt back into the ring.
Woodhall said: “There’s got to be a third fight, the last one was really close and Frampton just got edged out of it. It was probably the right decision, but there wasn’t much in it.
“Frampton clearly won the first time, for me, but Santa Cruz boxed differently in the rematch. He was less aggressive and waiting on the back-foot more.
“It was a clever plan that worked and it surprised Frampton, who was expecting him to come forward more of the time.
“I thought the first one was more entertainment, the second was still a great contest but a little bit more cagey.
“Both results were fair and it will make for a great third fight, where the big question is who can adapt and change their style.
“It was a good result for Santa Cruz and now it needs to become a trilogy. At the moment, it’s advantage Santa Cruz because of how he sussed him out the second time around.
“We’ll see how clever Frampton is should the fight come around again and it needs to be an immediate rematch, while it’s fresh on his mind.”
The opinion of Woodhall, 48, has added weight after his reign as WBC champion at super middle between 1998 and 1999.
He also challenged Keith Holmes for the WBC crown at middleweight in 1996, feats Collins surpassed during his own career.
‘The Celtic Warrior,’ now 52, lifted WBO straps in two divisions through perseverance after twice failing to claim WBA middleweight honours, along with the European belt.
Frampton’s defeat threw a spanner in the works after his manager Barry McGuigan, who entertained Premier Suite guests in November, claimed he was targeting a world title in a third division.
Woodhall doesn’t think that is written in stone, regardless of what pans out between Frampton and Santa Cruz in the coming months.
Woodhall said: “I’m not so sure going up to super feather is the best option for Frampton. He’s not the biggest at feather and he’s still getting used to it. Only time will tell.”
Comedian Mike Cash, from the same Irish town of Clones as McGuigan and a supporting act to him in Cannock, also returns to provide laughs for another Irish-themed event. Tickets are still on sale, starting from £50. The ‘platinum’ option includes a seat in the main function room and a four-course meal.
A ‘silver’ pass is £85, with the same benefits plus a professional photograph with either Frampton or Collins or both. ‘Gold,’ at £175, allows entry to a meet and greet beforehand.
For more information and to book places for the show, get in touch with Bar Sport directly by calling 01543 572 092.