Las Vegas. The boxing mecca where boxers dream of headlining a world championship event. There was no disgrace in Carl Frampton losing his professional unbeaten record. He faced a boxer in Leo Santa Cruz who had gone on record to say that he would retire from the sport if he did not win the bout. Statement of intent.
Santa Cruz’s reach advantage was the key to this success, he used his key strength unlike in the opening bout where he was intent on boxing Frampton on the inside, a tactic given the Belfast’s native skill was doomed to failure.
Frampton look stunned early doors that Santa Cruz had the boxing skills to execute that game plan with his jab working a treat. Santa Cruz was a boxer on a mission for redemption and try as Frampton might in the later rounds, the Mexican punished Frampton defensive lapses late in the middle rounds to win a few rounds that on another day would have being scored even.
The respect between the two boxers was evident throughout the buildup and after the bout. A trilogy is very much on the cards but the idea that Belfast will be hosting it this summer is way off the mark and with other boxers looking for a title shot.
There is a Welsh boxer by the name of Lee Selby who is on the phone to Eddie Hearn as I type to get a bout with Santa Cruz. Selby’s hand speed and movement is sublime and I genuinely believe that Selby would have every chance of beating both boxers last night.
The farcical scenes on Friday when Selby’s opponent had to withdraw due to not being able to get a Nevada boxing license was something that I thought was behind boxing (but obviously not).
Christmas sacrificed, multiple training camps away from his family, Selby was left high and dry by the events of Friday afternoon. Selby deserves a shot with Santa Cruz (title shot) or Frampton next in a domestic bout, a big bout to whet the appetite of a boxer who has had to travel long distances to become a world champion in his own right.
Frampton’s classy post bout interview has won him even more admirers across the Atlantic. Carl Frampton and Shane McGuigan will sit down and look at where the bout went away. Frampton is a majestic boxer when opponents come forward but Frampton at times one dimensional when on the front foot as Santa Cruz picked off Frampton with some excellent jabs and combinations. Shane McGuigan instructions at times sounded like more of the same; no backup game plan to counteract the reach advantage that the Mexican was executing during the bout. A learning experience for everyone associated with the Frampton camp.
I do not think anyone would mind seeing another bout but it will be intriguing to see where the bout will be held. Frampton’s first experience boxing in Las Vegas can only help in the trilogy. It will be a US based bout, don’t see Santa Cruz coming to Belfast. If he does, I think my cap off to the man but money talks and HBO will be keen to hold this bout in Las Vegas yet again. The expected PPV sales alone mean that an European location is a non-starter. Two super fights this year already with the drawn DeGale / Jack bout and now Santa Cruz vs. Frampton along with the devastating KO produced by Mikey Garcia (a beast) as the new three weight world champion knocked out Dejan Zlaticanin.
I really wished that Floyd Mayweather would stop talking about a bout with Conor McGregor; the idea smells rotten and given the boxing craft of Mayweather, it would be an easy night for Mayweather and notch up fifty wins in the professional ranks. The sport of boxing does not need a charade event this year. There are plenty of super bouts scheduled this year (Joshua vs. Klitschko), no need for this bout to make a mockery of the sport but some people will probably respond on the Haye vs. Bellew bout in March (true point) but you know what I am getting at 🙂