Carl Frampton (11/8) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (4/7), Draw (28/1)
Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (22-0-0) will make a career-defining move as he steps up to the featherweight division to take on the unbeaten Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (32-0-1) for the WBA Super World Featherweight title on Saturday, July 30, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Frampton recently dethroned WBA Super Bantamweight champion Scott Quigg (via split decision) to become the unified champion in the weight-class, and now he’s thinking even bigger (literally and metaphorically).
“This is the fight I wanted and I’m one hundred percent confident that the belt will be coming home to Belfast,” said Frampton to the Associated Press. “It’s the belt that my manager Barry McGuigan held thirty years ago, and it’s fitting that I will have the chance to recapture this title. Santa Cruz is a strong and aggressive undefeated champion, but his style is made for me.”
Carl Frampton is 22-0-0 (14 KO’s) in his career, but this is the first time he will be fighting as a featherweight. Frampton is 5′ 5″ and has a 62″ reach; Leo Santa Cruz is 5′ 7½″ with a 69″ reach. Not only will he be at a size disadvantage, he’ll be in hostile territory. While Cruz hails from Mexico, the crowd at the Barclays Center will likely be strongly in favor of the champ. For Frampton, a native of Northern Ireland, this will only be his second career fight stateside.
Santa Cruz won the featherweight title by beating Abner Mares (majority decision) for the vacant belt last September. He then defended his title by defeating Kiki Martinez by fifth round TKO in February.
Santa Cruz was formerly a super bantamweight, himself, before moving to featherweight early in 2015. “El Terremoto” has decent power for someone his size with 18 knockouts on his resume; he’s managed to stop three of his last five opponents early. (The oddsmakers recognize his power, too, listing a Santa Cruz KO or TKO at 7/2.)
The Mexican is confident his power punches will do the trick against Frampton. “Frampton is a good fighter. He has power and skills, and he moves when he has to, but he has a weak chin. When he gets caught with a good punch, he goes down,” Santa Cruz told the AP.
Take Santa Cruz to successfully defend his title once again. He has the edge in size and experience (both at this weight and generally), and should have the crowd on his side.
Pick: Santa Cruz (4/7).
Photo Credit: Toglenn (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0] via Wikimedia Commons.