Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) doesn’t get tired. He is known as “El Terremoto,” (which means Earthquake in Spanish) but Santa Cruz is more like a direct descendant of the Gatling gun. Santa Cruz has showed us time and time again that he’s most comfortable in the trenches, firing 1,000 punches off until his opponent wilts under the pressure.
On Saturday, July 30, the left-coast based Santa Cruz will bring his fast-paced style to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY to face undefeated Northern Irishman, Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs). Frampton will be fighting for only the second time in the United States and for the first time as a Featherweight.
Santa Cruz is also making a debut of sorts, fighting for the first time on the East Coast in what is widely considered the East Coast epicenter of boxing.
“I’ve never been to New York before and I’m looking forward to this big opportunity to put on a show for new fans in a new city,” said Santa Cruz.
In his last fight–a fifth-round TKO victory where he threw close to 600 punches–Santa Cruz blasted one-time IBF champion, Kiko Martinez, a man Frampton is all too familiar with, having defeated the Spaniard twice.
Frampton’s last outing was the biggest of his career against bitter rival, Scott Quigg. Frampton won a decision against Quigg in front of a raucous crowd at Manchester Arena, setting himself up for a crack at Santa Cruz.
Before defeating Quigg, Frampton faced some difficulty in his US debut against the relatively unknown Mexican, Alejandro Gonzalez, suffering two knockdowns in Round 1 before coming back to win a decision.
“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,” said Frampton (via ESPN).
But Frampton confidently states that he will not make the same mistakes twice, including arriving in the US too close to the fight date.
“I’m boxing on the east coast this time so it will be different and I was only out for eight days before the last fight but I’m going out sooner for this one,” said Frampton.
Indeed, Frampton has already arrived in New York.
— Barry McGuigan (@ClonesCyclone) July 5, 2016
In terms of how the fight might play out, it seems as though we have a classic stylistic scrap on our hands. You’ll likely hear the phrase “styles make fights” 1,000 times in the build up the fight, but for once it actually applies to the matchup.
Frampton will look to use his movement and box from the outside, while Santa Cruz will be the buzz saw that he is and try to overwhelm Frampton.
Both men acknowledge the contrast in styles and feel that it plays to their individual strengths.
“Leo punches a lot and is aggressive,” said Frampton. “He’s a come forward fighter, and that will suit me,” said Frampton.
“When he gets caught with a good punch, he goes down. He doesn’t like pressure and I have that,” said Santa Cruz.
Whoever comes out on top of this highly-anticipated battle will have other champions such as Lee Selby and Gary Russell Jr. waiting in the wings. It’s a good time to be a Featherweight and great time to be a boxing fan.
Alejandro "Alex" Burgos is a former Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Round By Round Boxing. He is a professional blogger, SEO Consultant and Marketing Director at Capital Practice Consulting in Washington, DC. Alex can be reached at Alex@RoundByRoundBoxing.com.