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The Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz Throwdown Preview


Photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing

By Alex Burgos / Round By Round Boxing

After securing two huge victories in 2016 over Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs) which earned him Premier Boxing Champions and Ring Magazine honors for Fighter of the Year, not many people would have blamed Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) for taking a soft touch in his next bout.

But, that's not the type of fighter the Northern Ireland native is. So on January 28, Frampton is headed to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada to give Santa Cruz a shot at redemption.

In this money-first era of boxing, it's refreshing to see a top-notch fighter travel far from home and give the fans the fights they want to see.

"I think with our styles it's going to be another rumble. I think with Leo's style in particular, he's just, a typical Mexican fighter, a real warrior, non-stop, and he just tries to overwhelm opponents," said Frampton in a recent media conference call. "And his style just works against a lot of people. And it can work against lesser opponents."

Although Santa Cruz officially took the loss, the 12-round back-and-forth battle back in July of 2016 left both men with boosted fan bases and the immediate rematch is elevating them even higher among boxing faithful.

"The first fight was a great fight for the fans that I love and I'm just happy and motivated to go out there and give another great fight and make it even better than the first one," said Santa Cruz during the same conference call.

Many people argue that Frampton benefitted from the pro-Irish crowd at Barclays Center for the first fight, so it will be interesting to see how the Vegas crowd--which potentially could be filled with many more Mexican and Mexican-American fans--will impact the second fight.

But if Santa Cruz thinks he's getting an advantage from the crowd in Vegas, Frampton has other thoughts.

"The atmosphere in New York was incredible. I think again it's going to be even better," said Frampton. "I think there's potentially about 4,000 coming from back home, Northern Ireland, the south of Ireland, England and Scotland and Wales coming out to support me. And I think 4,000 will sound like 8,000 so it's going to be a raucous atmosphere, that's for sure."

Frampton is the slight betting favorite going into the second bout with Santa Cruz, but either way it surely promises to be another close matchup with plenty of fireworks.

"Whatever happens it's going to be competitive up until it ends but I think that, what I've been doing this time in training camp, I feel like a fully-fledged Featherweight," said Frampton.