By Steve Sturges: In a long awaited fight, IBF/WBA super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) will be moving up in weight to face WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) in the battle of the unbeaten in late summer in a fight that Showtime will be televising in the United States.
It’s a fight that makes all the sense in the world to make, although it perhaps is coming a fight early. If Frampton were to defend his newly won WBA super bantamweight title against his mandatory challenger Guillermo Rigondeaux first, it would make for an interesting match-up if Santa Cruz were to face Frampton afterwards. However, Frampton and his manager Barry McGuigan aren’t too keen on facing Rigondeaux.
They say he brings little to the table, but some boxing fans just think they don’t like their chances of winning the match. The WBA has already ordered Frampton to defend his title against Rigondeaux, and the IBF has Shingo Wake waiting for his crack at Frampton. This means that Frampton will probably need to give up one of his titles at 122lbs before he challenges Santa Cruz.
Frampton and Santa Cruz have both reportedly agreed to the fight this summer.
Last February, Frampton beat Scott Quigg by a 12 round decision to win a decision. It was a close fight, and one that Frampton likely would have lost had Quigg fought hard during the first six rounds. Quigg says he suffered a fractured jaw in the 4th round. That didn’t keep him from battling back hard in the last six rounds to make it close.
There will be a great deal of negotiations that will be done to determine when and where the Frampton vs. Santa Cruz fight will take place. Even though Santa Cruz has the WBA title, he’s likely going to need to travel to the UK if he wants to maximize the revenue the two fighters can make from the gate.
Based on how the two fighters performed in their last fights, you would have to favor Santa Cruz. He looked sensational in his recent 5th round stoppage victory over Kiko Martinez.