Carl Frampton Brings Gold Back – With his stand-out twelve round fight this past weekend against Leo Santa Cruz, Ireland’s Carl Frampton became the WBA world featherweight champion. Frampton entered the fight a 2 to 1 underdog against the formidable Santa Cruz (29-0-1) who was ostensibly fighting at home in New York City.
Well, as it turns out, NYC is a lot closer to Belfast than to Santa Cruz’s home in Southern California. Frampton received rabid support from New York’s Irish community and from several thousand “Jackal Army” members who flew in from Ireland. In the post fight interviews, Santa Cruz asked for a rematch in California, as if he had lost his belt in the other fighter’s hometown. That was not the true case, but it would appear that Frampton’s fan base could be counted on to get to California if need be. The truth is, Santa Cruz fought a nice fight and he deserves a rematch, but he should have to go to Ireland to get his belt back. He realized last Saturday how much of a tall order that would be. Frampton will not be a two-to-one underdog against anyone if he fights in Belfast.
But focusing on his fan support alone takes away from Frampton’s excellent in-ring performance. I must admit to being among those disappointed with Frampton’s previous outing, the showdown with Brit Scott Quigg earlier this year. In that fight, Frampton came out ahead after banking many of the early rounds, but he appeared to tire and be giving Quigg back the advantage as the fight wore on. Judging by that fight and his lukewarm debut in the United States where he was dropped twice in the opening round by Alejandro Gonzalez Jr , and the line favoring Santa Cruz seem justifiable.
But that was not the Frampton that showed up this past Saturday night. Giving up a lot of size and reach, Frampton was still fast and precise enough to get to Santa Cruz with hard, effective punches. His defense proved him to be very elusive and late in the fight he got a second wind that saw him close out strongly, something he did not show against Quigg. Overall, if the thought was that Santa Cruz had more technique than Frampton, the “Jackal” emphatically proved that wasn’t the case.
Carl Frampton Brings Gold Back To “Greener” Pastures
Frampton stayed in New York through Sunday and into Monday, savoring the win in the “city that never sleeps.” At some point later this week though, Frampton will land in Ireland and the party will really get started. With the last two wins netting world championships coming in 2016, Frampton has likely put himself on the inside track for “Fighter of the Year.”
Frampton will be looking at several offers for his next outing, and those offers are sure to include a Santa Cruz rematch. Though that will be what Showtime and Santa Cruz push for, Frampton may make more money staying at home to fight England’s Lee Selby, the IBF featherweight champion.
Frampton made history by becoming the first fighter from Northern Ireland to win world titles in two weight classes. He deserves the accolades he has earned so far, but the road will get more difficult from here. Whether in a rematch with Santa Cruz or in a face-off against Selby, the question becomes can Frampton perform to the level he did this past Saturday a second time.
Carl Frampton Brings Gold Back