Ahead of the WBA featherweight title showdown at the end of their month, some have questioned Carl Frampton’s ability to deal with Leo Santa Cruz’s high-intensity, high-activity style.
However, the Belfast man himself believes that the Mexican-American’s come-forward style will play right into his hands.
‘The Jackal’ told ESPN that “Leo punches a lot and is aggressive, he’s a come forward fighter, and that will suit me,”
Three-weight champ Santa Cruz has a more illustrious resumé than Frampton – although many wins came against fighters not at their natural weight. Since moving up to 126lbs he has defeated Abner Mares (in what was a career-best performance and a Fight of the Year contender) and stopped two-time Frampton foe Kiko Martinez.
29 year old Frampton’s last trip to America saw him hit the canvas twice in the opening round against Alejandro Gonzalez, and while he fought back to win a comfortable unanimous decision, the opening stanza lingers in the memories of American fight fans.
The Tiger’s Bay fighter is acutely aware of that, and he admitted that “I need to show the American crowd what I’m capable of.”
“I’m better than that, I’m a better fighter than I looked in the first round when Gonzalez put me down twice. It was disastrous but I came back and boxed quite well after that and won on points comfortably.”
“That was me at 70 percent and I really need to be at my best to beat Santa Cruz because he’s the best fighter I’ve come up against.”
While not underestimating him, Frampton feels he can exploit the LA puncher’s approach. Analysing the WBA featherweight champ, Frampton commented that “he’s had a couple of good wins at featherweight against Abner Mares and Kiko Martinez.”
“Mares was a good win, but Mares’ tactics were all wrong.”
“He started fast and blew up after three rounds and wasn’t the same after that. I won’t be stupid enough to do that.”