In another phenomenal fight, Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) solved the puzzle of Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs), outboxing him on his way to a 12-round majority decision victory at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Santa Cruz, not known for his boxing acumen but for his penchant for brawling in the trenches, came out of his corner in the first round utilizing his natural reach and height advantages, clearly to the surprise of Frampton.
For the first two rounds, Frampton spent some time trying to gain his footing realizing that this was a different man than the one he beat via clean counter punching last July.
In the third and the fourth, Frampton turned up the volume, starting to land more cleanly and get flashy as he ducked and dodged most of Santa Cruz’s output.
But Frampton’s successes didn’t last long. Once again, Santa Cruz adjusted, taking to Frampton’s body repeatedly, slowing the Northern Irishman down.
From the middle rounds on, Frampton’s biggest punches came in tight, rumbling exchanges that saw each man take some solid leather to the face. But it wasn’t enough as Santa Cruz continued to shift his gameplan–keeping Frampton on his outside and countering him on the inside.
“My head was telling me to go forward and pressure him,” said Santa Cruz. “But my dad and my corner were telling me to box him. That’s what I had to do to win the fight.”
Santa Cruz’s patience and corner advice came through as he took the victory with scores of 114-114 and 115-113 twice.
“It was a very tough fight,” said Frampton. “Some of the rounds were close [but] I really do think Leo deserved it.”
There is little doubt that with both men having a victory under their belt in this perhaps soon-to-be classic rivalry there will be a third fight.
“I hope he’s a man of his word and comes to Belfast. I hope he does,” said Frampton.
“I’m a man of my word,” said Santa Cruz. “I said if I won I’d give him the trilogy.”
Do you want to see a third fight between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz?