Santa-Cruz vs. Frampton Fight Preview

frampton-santa-cruz (11) (720x480)

frampton-santa-cruz (11) (720x480)

 

 

By Seamus McNally

On July 30th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Mexico’s Leo Santa Cruz (32–0–1, 18 KOs) and Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton (22–0, 14 KOs) put their undefeated records on the line against each other in a match up of two of the best boxers in the world south of 130 lbs. The highly anticipated fight between two of the biggest stars in the lower weight divisions is being promoted by DiBella Entertainment and will be televised live Saturday night on Showtime.

Santa Cruz established himself as one of the world’s premier bantamweights by the end of 2012 before deciding to move up to 122 lbs in 2013. In his super bantamweight debut that May, Santa Cruz defeated Venezuelan Alexander Munoz by fifth-round stoppage. Santa Cruz put the rest of the division on notice a few months later in August with a statement third-round knockout win over super bantamweight contender Victor Terrazas of Mexico. Santa Cruz capped of the year with a unanimous decision victory over Cesar Seda in December.

2014 got off to a promising start for Santa Cruz, with a dominant decision win over contender Cristian Mijares in March. Santa Cruz actually called out Frampton after his win over Mijares but the fight never materialized. Santa Cruz then starting drawing the ire of fans by facing sub-par competition in his next few fights, especially with plenty of big names in his division that he could have faced, namely fellow Mexican star Abner Mares. The criticism towards Santa Cruz came to a crescendo May 2, 2015 on the Mayweather-Pacquiao under card. Santa Cruz was given a huge opportunity by being placed in the co-feature slot of the biggest fight of the 21st century. Instead of facing an elite opponent with the whole world watching, he took on former sparring partner Jose Catayeno in his first non 12-round fight in two years. Santa Cruz was not even able to get his over matched opponent out of there and had to settle for a shutout unanimous decision.

Fed up with hearing about his lackluster opposition, Santa Cruz finally gave the fans what they wanted and took on Mares in a featherweight bout August 29 on ESPN. The fight lived up to the high expectations, with Santa Cruz winning a thrilling 12-round majority decision between the two Southern California residents in front of a raucous crowd at the Staples Center in LA. The action-packed win propelled Santa Cruz back into the good graces of the fans.

Frampton has been a star in his native Northern Ireland and the surrounding countries for a number of years, routinely fighting in front of electric sold out crowds in his hometown of Belfast. But he was only introduced to the American public last July, and was surprisingly shaky in his debut in America. He was dropped twice in the first round by the unheralded Alejandro Gonzalez before recovering to win a unanimous decision.

Frampton went back across the pond for a mega fight of his own, facing Scott Quigg five months ago on February 27 in front of a frenzied atmosphere at the Manchester Arena. Frampton-Quigg was similar to Santa Cruz-Mares in that both fights were in demand by the public years before they finally took place. Unlike Santa Cruz-Mares, this fight did not live up to the high expectations. The fight turned out to be more of a tactical battle than the expected slugfest. Both fighters looked nervous under the huge spotlight and were tentative to engage. Nonetheless, Frampton got the better of his nemesis, winning a split decision to set himself up for a return to America and another major fight against an unbeaten opponent.

Santa Cruz and Frampton share a common opponent, Kiko Martinez of Spain. Both fighters were able to stop Martinez. In February 2013, Frampton won the European super bantamweight title against Martinez with a ninth-round knockout at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. They had a rematch 19 months later in September 2014, this time at a makeshift outdoor arena in Belfast to accommodate Frampton’s growing legion of fans. Frampton did not get a stoppage this time, but was able to win a near shutout unanimous decision. Santa Cruz faced Martinez in his most recent fight, which took place at the Honda Center in Anaheim on the same day as Frampton-Quigg. Santa Cruz was able to take out Martinez in the fifth round.

A fight between two elite fighters, both undefeated and in their primes is never easy to predict, and that is why fans love to watch this type of match up. They are also unlike a lot of undefeated fighters, both having already been tested in a big fight. That makes this fight even more intriguing since both have tasted success in a high pressure situation before.

Santa Cruz is a come forward, action fighter who’s punch output in the ring is only surpassed by pound-for-pound king Roman Gonzalez. Frampton has a more calculated style, preferring to fight at a measured pace and landing precise counter shots. Frampton will gladly exchange leather when pushed, which should make for a very exciting scrap. Santa Cruz will be the bigger man on fight night, with a 3” height advantage and 7” reach advantage over Frampton. This is also Santa Cruz’s fourth fight at featherweight, while Frampton is fighting above the super bantamweight limit of 122 lbs for the first time. Frampton will have the crowd behind him with a large contingent of Irish fans in the New York area. The fight will be a thrilling back and forth affair most of the night before Santa Cruz’s wears down the smaller man in the championship rounds by imposing his size advantage with his pressure style to eke out a close decision 115-113.

Guillermo Rigondeaux Fires Shots at Carl Frampton & Scott Quigg

wpid-wp-1456755271463.png

image

Pound-for-pound megastar Guillermo Rigondeaux took to Twitter over the weekend to vent his disgust at Carl Frampton’s anti-climax victory over super-bantamweight rival Scott Quigg. 

The hard-hitting Cuban was far from impressed at the pair’s cagey unification fight and sent out a series of tweets reiterating his desire to take on Frampton once he has beaten Merseyside hero Jazza Dickens, who he takes on at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday 12th March, exclusively live on BoxNation. 

The two-time Olympic Gold Medallist ran a poll on Friday night asking his followers if they thought the winner of Frampton versus Quigg would be “man enough” to fight him. 1,477 fight fans voted in the poll with a resounding 62% predicting that the winner would carry on avoiding the unbeaten superstar.

‘El Chacal’ once again branded his rivals as cowards for avoiding him stating: “After I fight @JazzaDickens10 the looser of #FramtonQuigg should fight him and the winner should stop running and fight me.”

Rigondeaux, 35, is determined to show the world that he is the true Super-Bantamweight king and on the morning of the fight told followers: “I don’t care who win 2nite. I only want for the winner to know I fight him anywhere anytime.”

With his lightening quick reactions and devastating hand speed, Rigondeaux has been one of the world’s most avoided boxers. The former unified Super-Bantamweight world champion again made it clear he wanted nothing more than to take on both Frampton and Quigg and urged them to give the public what they wanted.

He tweeted: “Just so #FramptonQuigg know. I still want to fight both of you. So STOP THINKING ABOUT A REMATH. FIGHT ME FIRST!”

 After Frampton’s showdown with Quigg failed to live up to the hype surrounding it, it appears boxing fans around the world would prefer to see the new unified world champion take on Rigondeaux with many people agreeing Saturday’s was too boring for a rematch.  

Cuba’s Rigondeaux was clearly unimpressed with the Northern Irishman’s performance and took a swipe at his rival’s boxing ability tweeting: “No wonder he is been running away from me 4 years. He can’t even box. Do you guys remember what happen 2 Nonito? Wait until I get his guy!”

Even Sky Sports boxing pundit Glen McCory said that he’d like to see the new two-belt champion take on Rigondeaux instead of taking a rematch. 

He said: “I’d like to see Frampton fight Rigondeaux. He’s regarded as number one and I think that’s a fight Carl should take.”

If Frampton is to prove he is the true Super-Bantamweight champion that he says he is then he must take on Rigondeaux to settle the score once and for all. Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren backed up Rigondeaux’s claim to be the best in the world after watching the slow burner. 

He said: “After all the hype, Frampton v Quigg fight failed to live up to expectations. The fans know that Rigondeaux is the genuine world champion and as he’s stated plenty of times he’d be happy to fight either of them, but now he’s after Frampton. Fans can see the real 122 pound world champion in action in Liverpool on Saturday 13th March.”

The avoided Cuban heaped more praise on his next opponent Dickens for taking the fight and advised Frampton and Quigg to take a leaf out of the gutsy Scouser’s book.

He tweeted: “The only of these guy that got my absolute respect 2day is @JazzaDickens10. He made no excuses. Hope these guy learn something from him.”

Terry Flanagan v Derry Mathews for the WBO World Lightweight Championship headlines the show that also features one of the worlds greatest boxers, Guillermo Rigondeaux, taking on Merseyside hero Jazza Dickens; another star of world boxing, dynamite punching South African Zolani Tete challenges for the Vacant IBF International Bantamweight Championship against Jose Santos Gonzalez; Birmingham ace Tommy Langford defends his WBO Intercontinental Middleweight title against Lewis Taylor; hard-hitting Ellesmere Port’s star Paul Butler will challenge for a championship belt; Blackpool’s Matty Askin defends his English Cruiserweight title against Swindon’s Lawrence Bennett.  The undercard features some of the best talent in Merseyside: undefeated leading world title contender Kevin Satchell; red-hot prospect Steven Lewis; European Champion Ryan Farrag; Indian superstar Vijender Singh plus Manchester prospects Macaulay McGowan and Zelfa Barrett and Leicester ace Lyon Woodstock complete the card.

Erith Lewis Pettitt Has Commonwealth Title In Sights Then Elite of Super-Bantamweights

wpid-wp-1441127637106.jpeg

image

At the age of 25, and with six title fights on his ledger, Erith super-bantam Lewis Pettitt insists he’s finally ready to be unleashed against the division’s big guns.

‘I want big domestic fights. I want to end this season as British and European champion. I understand that British Champion Jazza Dickens is defending against Martin Ward in mid November so hopefully the winner will defend against me early in the New Year.’ Said Pettitt.

Already ranked number four in the world by the WBA, this month the likeable 5ft 4½in crowd favourite from Kent gets an opportunity to add the vacant Commonwealth title to a trophy cabinet that already contains the Southern Area, WBA Inter-Continental and WBO European belts.

He confronts 23 year old Lincoln battler Bobby Jenkinson, the Midland Area featherweight boss, in a supporting contest on the fabulous ‘Man vs Machine’ show at the SSE Arena, Wembley on September 26th. 

‘I’ve done a fair bit of sparring with (current WBA champ) Scott Quigg and Quigg’s trainer assures me I fare better than most so I’m not far off. Other than him, the smallest I spar is super-featherweight Mitchell Smith.

‘If a Quigg fight was offered to me I’d jump at it. Compared with Frampton and Rigondeaux, he’s possibly the easiest of the three world champions. If Scott moves up to featherweight as is rumoured and number two is injured, it could be number three (unbeaten Las Vegas southpaw Jessie Magdaleno) and me boxing for the vacant title sooner than you think.

‘But ideally I’d prefer a couple of really hard domestic level fights first to fully prepare me.’

Jenkinson represents his first home-based opponent for over two years and having thwarted a Slovakian, a Brazilian, an Argentinean, a Georgian and a Croat in the interim, it’s a challenge that Pettitt covets.

‘This match is ideal,’ he insists.

‘My fans love the domestics cos the opponent will also have fans and there’s usually loads of singing and banter. There’s a much better buzz. Ultimately, the belt will give me a chance to fight decent Australians, Canadians and South Africans. Fights with Vusi Malinga or Tshifhiwa Munyai would be wicked.’

Though ‘Bobby Dazzler’ resides closer to home than his recent rivals, it’s been no easier to engage in reconnaissance.

‘So far we’ve not been able to find any video footage of Bobby,’ revealed Lewis.

‘There’s nothing on You Tube. I’m not really concerned but Al always likes a little look.

‘From what contacts have told us he’s definitely not to be underestimated. He’s beaten a few undefeated boys fighting out of the away corner. I’ve heard he’s a decent pressure fighter who throws a lot of shots and never stops coming forward. 

‘But I’ll beat him cos I’m more experienced and because I’m ready to step up and finally get my name into the mix.”

Priced at £40, £50, £75, £100 and £150* tickets are available from www.frankwarren.com, The SSE Arena on 0844 815 0815 and www.axs.com and Eventim on 0844 249 1000 and www.eventim.co.uk

Buglioni v Chudinov headlines ’Man vs. Machine’ with London hotshot Frank Buglioni challenging WBA World Super-Middleweight Champion Fedor Chudinov for his crown.

An action packed card also features top undefeated WBO European Super-Middleweight Champion Jamie Cox making the first defence of his title; Cromer battler Ryan Walsh faces Hull’s Samir Mouneimne with the Vacant British Featherweight Title on the line; all-action Erith talent Lewis Pettitt challenges for the Vacant Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight Championship against Bobby Jenkinson; Penge hero Bradley Skeete defends his WBO European Welterweight crown against Heywood’s Mark Thompson; Ahmet Patterson and Danny Butler clash in an Eliminator for the British Light-Middleweight Championship; plus on the undercard Dublin lightweight Jamie Kavanagh; Canning Town lightweight Romeo Romaeo; Dagenham lightweight Ediz Hussein.

The Channel Of Champions, BoxNation, will televise the show live and exclusive on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 415.  Subscribe at www.boxnation.com  or watch online at Livesport.tv and via iPhone, iPad or Android.

image