By Ian S Palmer
There’s a big Super Featherweight title bout this Saturday, July 30th when Carl Frampton of Ireland challenges champion Leo Santa Cruz of Mexico at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Frampton is a former IBF and WBA Super Bantamweight champion. The 12-round bout between the pair of unbeaten boxers can be seen live on Showtime in the U.S. while fans in the UK can catch the action live on BoxNation. Santa Cruz beat Kiko Martinez by fifth-round stoppage in his last outing in February while Frampton took a split decision over former WBA Super Bantamweight Scott Quigg of England to take his title the same day. This is Santa Cruz’s second defence of the title after winning the vacant belt by beating Abner Mares last summer.
The 29-year-old Frampton enters the ring with a perfect record of 22-0 with 14 Kos to his name. He’s fought 128 rounds since turning pro in 2009. Frampton stands 5-feet-5-inches tall and has a 62-inch reach. Frampton has pretty good power and his current knockout ratio stands at 64 per cent. He’s also got a decent chin, but has been on the canvas before. Frampton’s biggest-name opponents so far have been Quigg, Kiko Martinez and former world champ Steve Molitor of Canada. This is Frampton’s first contest in the 126 lb. division.
The 27-year-old Santa Cruz, who fights out of the Los Angeles area, has a near-perfect record of 32-0-1 along with 18 Kos. He’s already won world bantamweight and junior featherweight titles, but decided to move up in weight and captured the vacant WBA featherweight belt when he beat fellow countryman Abner Mares by majority decision last August. Santa Cruz stands just over 5-feet7-inches tall and has a wingspan of 69 inches. He has a 55 per cent knockout ratio and has fought 192 rounds since turning pro in 2006. His biggest wins have been against Martinez, Mares, Cristian Mijares, Victor Terrazas and Eric Morel.
Santa Cruz’s draw was a four-round affair against Rodrigo Hernandez in 2007 in his second pro bout. Santa Cruz has the edge in height and reach while Frampton arguably has more power. In addition, this will be Frampton’s first outing in this heavier weight division. Santa Cruz is very busy in the ring though and likes to continuously throw punches in bunches. This is a good test for both boxers and it should be a fairly entertaining fight as Frampton tries to work his way on the inside.
This isn’t an easy fight to predict as both boxers are capable of winning. Santa Cruz is more of a volume puncher than a knockout artist and he shouldn’t change his style here. If he fights in his usual nonstop style then he should be able to keep his title by decision with a late stoppage being possible, but not as likely. It won’t be easy though as Frampton is a solid boxer with a good arsenal of punches and isn’t one to lose his concentration in the ring. He’s quite accurate with his shots, doesn’t waste many of them and uses his jab to set up straight right hands and left hooks. He’s comfortable leading the way or counterpunching.