Carl Frampton became a two-weight world champion, winning the WBA belt, handing Santa Cruz his first defeat.
Carl Frampton created history, beating the undefeated Leo Santa Cruz in a 12 round fight. The fight played out as its promise, a rarity in boxing these days. They gave it their all, and Frampton edged by a round or two, unlike what the scorecards reflected. A draw would not have been a controversial outcome either. It was that close a fight.
Framton was fighting for the first time at 122lbs and didn’t show any sign of fighting at a new weight. He started fast, countering Santa Cruz with heavy shots, and giving angles to his aggression. With this win, Frampton proves that risk has its rewards and great matches need to have an element of inherent risk attached to it. After beating Scott Quigg in his last fight, a tough fight, he went straight to Santa Cruz, the best at the division.
It’s no always the path fighters today choose; going from one title fight to the next one, and winning them both; against the best. For this, Frampton deserves a lot of credit. Judge Guido Cavalleri scored the contest 114-114 but Frank Lombardi (116-112) and Tom Schreck (117-111). The last two scores were ridiculous making the fight look like ones-sided, which it was anything but that. It was a close fight, and there is a chance the fight judge may have got it just right.
Santa Cruz repeated the same mistake that Quigg made, which was to start slow. He started slow, taking a lot of time to figure out Frampton’s movements and counters. In the second round, Frampton hurt Santa Cruz, buckling his knees. Santa Cruz went to the ropes and recovered quickly. Having the chin that he does, he may have been a little off-balance as well.
In the second half of the fight, Santa Cruz came back and dominated the fight, landing some powerful shots on Frampton, besting Frampton at close exchanges. He may have won 5 of the last six rounds pretty easily. Two things that went on Frampton’s favor were: He took Santa Cruz’s punches very well, and landed the cleaner and heavier blows.
After the fight, Frampton said:
“Leo Santa Cruz is a true warrior. I respect him a hell of a lot – and a hell of a lot more after that fight.
“I had a good gameplan. Shane McGuigan is an unbelievable coach. I fought with my heart rather than my head sometimes but I’m glad I got my hand raised. The game was to hit him hard and make him earn my respect. I hurt him in the second round I think.”
Obviously Santa Cruz thought he won the fight and looked a little clueless at the scores. He said that he would apply the rematch clause for the immediate re-match. There will be more interest in the rematch than any other fight at the weight out there.
Boxing needs more matches like these. Here are the highlights:
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