Frampton’s stock rockets after victorious New York exchange with Santa Cruz
Lee Gormley | August 2, 2016
Frampton stock grows in New York
Carl Frampton’s debut on American soil in July last year got off to a worrying start when the Northern Irishman had to twice climb from the canvas to outpoint Alejandro Gonzalez Jr in Texas, but 12 months later he has seen his stock rocket after an enthralling win over Leo Santa Cruz.
‘The Jackal’ faced a backlash of criticism in light of that maiden outing in the United States, but ironically it was that performance which paved the way for him to finally go toe-to-toe with Scott Quigg and ultimately become a two-weight world champion in New York this July.
Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) outscored former Manchester foe Quigg last February to become unified super-bantamweight champion, finally putting the pair’s long-standing rivalry to bed with a split decision victory.
After reigning supreme at 122lbs, the 29-year-old then opted to make the move up to featherweight and challenge Mexican warrior Santa Cruz for the WBA strap, a feat he achieved in fine fashion in the Big Apple.
If the Belfast fighter’s meeting with Quigg left a lot to be desired, his latest Santa Cruz bout could not have produced any more, with the duo gallantly battling out what was a fight of the year contender under the Barclays Center lights.
‘The Jackal’ targeting Selby showdown
Frampton, now Northern Ireland’s first ever two-division world titlist, had outlined his intentions of being in a truly memorable fight for fans, and he surpassed such expectations easily.
Two judges declared the new WBA featherweight champion as a clear winner with scores of 116-112 and 117-111, with the third seeing it a draw at 114-114, in what was a mesmerising contest from start to finish.
The new champion’s majority decision success saw him tarnish another opponent’s previously unbeaten record too, banishing the ‘O’ from Santa Cruz as well Quigg earlier in the year, putting himself in contention for fighter of the year as well.
Following his latest heroics, Frampton’s reputation has rocketed globally and has a host of options next, though a meeting with Lee Selby seems the most promising, which he would be odds-on 4/5 favourite to win with Coral if agreed.
“Lee Selby was here and is a great fighter. He’s someone I respect very much and I’ve been singing his praises for a very, very long time. He’s one of the best UK fighters so that fight interests me,” stated Frampton.
“Selby’s a big name…”
“I just want to be involved in big, memorable fights against top-class guys. Real fighters fight, and that’s what I want to do.”
Despite rallying to such a historic triumph in America, Frampton remains extremely humble and has always had the fans in his thinking, treating a host of them to an after party in Brooklyn and outlining intentions for a homecoming bout to cut the cost for those looking to attend.
“I want to fight here in America but I want to fight at home. I want to fight in Belfast at least once a year. I love New York though and the East Coast is very appealing to me,” continued the Shane McGuigan trained fighter.
“I love the whole experience of boxing here but I’m a Belfast boy. I don’t want my fans having to spend so much money all the time.
“Selby’s a big name, Santa Cruz is a big name, Gary Russell Jr is a big name. All these guys are big names – that’s what I want.”
A rematch with Santa Cruz in Belfast would sure to be a sell-out, and Frampton is 4/5 to overcome the Mexican once again, while Russell Jr is another potential foe further down the line. Though all roads are seemingly leading towards a Selby showdown, which the latter Welshman is evens to prevail in.
McGuigan hails “unforgettable” Frampton fight
Frampton’s monumental featherweight title victory saw him claim the same strap his long-standing mentor Barry McGuigan had held back in 1985, and the ‘Clones Cyclone’ was full of praise for his world class prodigy.
“Now he has options and now he can become a star over here,” outlined McGuigan after the Santa Cruz clash. “To really make it in boxing you have to make it on this side of the pond.
“You can fight at home but to make a legacy and turn yourself into a Hall of Famer, you have to be in the US. That was the sort of performance no one will forget.
“The rematch with Santa Cruz would be amazing. I would love to have something at Windsor Park. Carl has always fancied playing at the home of the national football team.
“But Selby in Manchester is something we could do. We can do anything after this. It was incredible.”
The new featherweight champion is also 5/4 to overcome Russell Jr in a potential meeting, and 9/4 to gain success over super-bantamweight star Guillermo Rigondeaux, though he admitted there was no attraction in the latter bout.
Frampton made American critics eat their words with a supreme success over Santa Cruz, as an army of British and Irish fans watched from home in the early hours of the morning on July 31st, a date which ‘the Jackal’ will fondly remember as a defining moment of his career.