By James Slater
WBC super-bantamweight king Leo Santa Cruz says he is looking forward to defending his belt against unbeaten Irish star Carl Frampton; with the Mexican warrior saying he is more than willing to come over to Frampton’s Belfast fortress for the mouth-watering clash. Speaking with The Belfast Telegraph, Santa Cruz, 27-0-1(15) said he will make the trip to Belfast “for the biggest purse of my career.”
“I will fight Frampton in Belfast. He is my number-one choice and I want to defend my title in July,” Santa Cruz said. “I will come to Belfast if I get the biggest purse of my career.”
And Barry McGuigan, Frampton’s manager, says he is willing to give Santa Cruz just that:
“If Santa Cruz is genuine about coming to Belfast, and I have no reason to doubt him, then I will make him an offer he can’t refuse to come and fight Carl in Belfast,” McGuigan stated. “I am pleased to hear that Santa Cruz is willing to come and if we make that fight for July that would be perfect timing for us. We are having ongoing negotiations with Golden Boy about the fight and there is a lot of talking to be done because it is the biggest fight in the super-bantamweight division and everyone knows that.”
It is a great match-up indeed, but Santa Cruz is convinced he will win, by a KO, and then look at moving up in weight.
“I am not worried about fighting in Belfast,” Santa Cruz said. “Carl Frampton is a good fighter but I will punish him to the body, break him up and stop him. The fight won’t go the distance so I don’t need to worry about the judges. I have fought someone like Frampton before so I know how to beat him. I want to defend my title in July and then again in September or October. Another three title defences and then I want to move up to featherweight.”
The at-his-peak 25-year-old previously held the IBF title down at bantamweight, before moving up and winning his WBC 122-pound crown, and a third title in as many weights cannot be looked at as a leap too far for him. Having reeled off two retentions of his WBC title, Santa Cruz has impressed many with his all-action style.
But the gifted Frampton, 18-0(13) and two years older than Santa Cruz, has also impressed. The styles of these two men all but guarantees action and “The Jackal” has earned his big opportunity.