This weekend is headlined by the first mega rematch of the year when current WBA Super featherweight champion, Carl Frampton faces the man he took the belt from, Leo Santa Cruz.
The fight is the second of seven promised marquee boxing matchups presented by Showtime Sports. Jesus Cuellar vs. Abner Mares and Jermall Charlo vs. Julian Williams ended 2016 with a bang. Badou Jack vs. James DeGale set off the new year with a barnburner and now the featherweight rematch between Frampton and Santa Cruz is here to extend the pugilistic glories.
Santa Cruz is arguably the other Golden Boy of boxing. The Mexican-American standout was a quiet stealth missile barraging through all challengers on his rise to the top of the game. The former three-weight world champion held the IBF bantamweight, WBC super bantamweight and the WBA super featherweight belts.
That was until he squared off against Carl Frampton.
Frampton went relatively unnoticed fighting extensively in Europe for the majority of his career. The Irishman won the IBF super bantamweight title in February of 2016 via a split decision victory over Scott Quigg to little fanfare. He decided to move up in weight to where all the killers lie, the featherweight division.
Santa Cruz was without the services trainer and father in his corner, as his was undergoing treatment for bone cancer. That lack of assurance from his ever-present patriarch affected him as he looked a bit off in most of the rounds.
Frampton clearly won the bout by landing the better shots and all three judges agreed. "The Jackal", as he's known, became the first two-division world champion in the history of Northern Ireland by taking the 12-round majority decision.
Although the punches landed were about the same, Frampton had a higher accuracy rate. When Frampton staggered Santa Cruz backward in the second round, the Irishman seized the momentum. Both fighters exchanged power shots while moving around the ring at times. The winner of the technical war would eventually be named the 2016 Fighter of the Year by ESPN and Yahoo Sports for his sensational victory over Santa Cruz.
In retrospect, at times the fight was very difficult to score and this rematch might suffer the same consequences. However, the senior Santa Cruz will be back in his son's corner, and was there for this entire training camp. Santa Cruz is a consistently disciplined and vigilant fighter that usually finds a way to win when his team is in order.In retrospect, at times the fight was very difficult to score and this rematch might suffer the same consequences.
However, the senior Santa Cruz will be back in his son's corner, and was there for this entire training camp. Santa Cruz is a consistently disciplined and vigilant fighter that usually finds a way to win when his team is in order.
That is dangerous for Frampton.
In a division stacked with great matchups like Gary Russell Jr., Abner Mares and Oscar Valdez, this rematch is the precursor to the new "it" division in boxing.Catch all the action live this Saturday from the MGM Grand Arena on Showtime at 10:00 pm EST / 7:00 pm PST.