The rematch will trek from Barclays Center in Brooklyn to the bright lights of Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
There should be a great atmosphere come fight night, fueled by an anticipated 4,000 UK fans making the trip to Vegas (per SkySports.com).
Frampton has stated during the pre-fight press conference, all tickets he was allotted have sold out. Santa Cruz is hoping to benefit from the change in fight venue.
With Santa Cruz from Rosemead, Southern California, a four hour ride to Vegas; he will definitely have a larger fan base than the first fight.
Read on for a complete preview and prediction for Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz 2.
Tale of the Tape
Both fighters share a similar knockout percentage, which is usually a testament to overall power. But although both fighters’ power seems comparable, Carl Frampton was the only one of the two that visibly hurt the other fighter from a punch in the first fight.
I think the most telling difference between the two fighters is the height and reach advantage Santa Cruz has over Frampton. Frampton was able to negate this advantage by controlling the distance and choosing when to engage in the first fight.
If Santa Cruz fires the jab accurately and often, Frampton’s attack could be disrupted. Santa Cruz has a little more mileage on him based on rounds boxed, but both share similar experience.
Main Story Lines
In the preparation for a fight, a fighter focus is arguably the most important characteristic. It was widely known in the preceding months before the Carl Frampton fight, Leo Santa Cruz’s father, Jose, was battling stage three bone cancer.
In a sit-down with Mark Kriegel, Santa Cruz gave some insight into his mindset leading into the 1st fight.
It was hard to train, concentrate, I still went to the gym…but I didn’t train as hard as I did for other fights cause my dad wasn’t there. He was going through Chemo, he was going through radiation…I told my dad if he didn’t want me to that I wouldn’t fight… but my dad said no I want you to fight.
It is hard to say how much of an impact Leo’s circumstances had on the last fight. The only person, who really knows, is Santa Cruz himself. But I do think it is fair to say, having Jose back in his camp full time, which culminated to an undefeated record, can’t be a bad thing.
After capturing the WBA title as a near consensus underdog in their first fight, Frampton is coming in exuding even more confidence. Opposite Mark Kriegel, Frampton discussed his mindset coming into the second fight.
I’m expecting to win, I believe that Leo was easily my toughest opponent to date, not being disrespectful to Leo, I’m going to win this fight easier than the 1st fight.
It is worth noting Frampton moved up in weight for their July matchup. Having another camp getting adjusted to the weight should be an added benefit for Frampton.
Strengths for Each Fighter
Leo Santa Cruz
Leo Santa Cruz stands in a class of his own when it comes to punch output volume. Throughout his career fans have witnessed numerous occasions where his punch output exceeded 1,000 in a fight.
Many judges tend to score rounds for an active, aggressive fighter.
In a close fight this can carry a lot of weight. Santa Cruz has to use his height and reach to his advantage.
If he sets up his offense behind his jab; he can set the distance he needs to be most effective.
Arguably Carl Frampton’s greatest strength is his boxing intelligence.
“I feel like no matter whom I fight I always get better the second time,” said Frampton.
In the first fight Frampton boxed beautifully, demonstrated by taking an additional step back to counter Leo Santa Cruz’s onslaught throughout.
Frampton also possesses the superior footwork of the two fighters. His quicker feet allowed him to get inside, land his offense and move before Santa Cruz gained an opportunity to effectively counter.
Weaknesses for Each Fighter
Leo Santa Cruz
Leo Santa Cruz is the type of fighter who does not necessarily have a varied offensive attack. His opponent knows the pressure and volume of punches he will bring, the trouble is trying to stop it.
But as evidenced in the first fight with Carl Frampton, his attack can be predictable and open to effective counter shots.
Santa Cruz also had difficulty cutting off the ring against a fighter he simply couldn’t just overwhelm with punches.
It is important for him to apply smart pressure and not get caught following Frampton all night. Santa Cruz tends to concede his height and reach advantage too often when fighting on the inside.
There were times in their first fight where Carl Frampton seemed a little uncomfortable with the pressure Leo Santa Cruz applied, as evidenced in Rounds 6 and 7.
Santa Cruz has even further speculated that this may be due to a weak chin. In his American soil debut, Frampton was dropped twice in Round 1 by the unheralded Alejandro Gonzalez Jr.
Although Santa Cruz did not land enough of a flush blow to test this theory, it remains one to watch for. Frampton is ceding a big reach advantage to Santa Cruz.
If Santa Cruz improves even slightly in accuracy behind his jab and straight right, this fight may shape into the second half of Abner Mares vs. Santa Cruz, when Santa Cruz controlled the fight.
The Winner and Why
With immediate rematch it is difficult to believe that each fighter will bring something in the ring not seen in the first fight. Sure, there will be an attempt by both to try something different, which was worked on in camp.
But undoubtedly when the fight starts to heat up at a blistering pace, each fighter will revert back to what they do best and are most comfortable doing.
This is why I believe Leo Santa Cruz will win via a 12-round split decision. I think he is going to bring the expected pressure but land with a little more accuracy to eek out the close rounds.
I feel that although he may even land with a lower percentage, the judges are going to favor the volume of punches and pressure. I feel Carl Frampton will be able to counter and win rounds, but ultimately will just not be busy enough.
Whether this in fact turns out to be a Round 13 continuation of their first fight or Round 1 of a different type of fight, expectations couldn’t be higher for a great show on Saturday night.
As Frampton foreshadowed with Mark Kriegel, “This may be one of these occasions when you mention Carl Frampton you automatically think of Leo Santa Cruz and vice versa.”