What next for Carl Frampton?
Daniel McKeown | 21 April 2017
The road ahead for the popular puncher
Northern Ireland’s featherweight sensation Carl Frampton was beaten by Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas last weekend. With that heart-breaking result the 29-year-old lost, not only his unbeaten record, but also the WBA world title he had worked so tirelessly to achieve.
Difficult to take for the scrapper known as ‘The Jackal’, harder still because of the manner in which he ended the night without his prized-asset. A majority decision. The tightest of margins in boxing. One ringside judged saw the fight as a draw, while his two colleagues scored it to Santa Cruz by a mere two rounds.
The Brit was humble in defeat, saying that he had now come to America twice to fight Cruz, beating him the first time – of course by a majority decision that swung in his favour – and he now hoped his rival would come to Belfast to complete the trilogy, and crown the better man once and for all.
If Frampton had won on Saturday he had the world at his feet, with a number of money-spinning contests on the horizon, including a British super-fight with Welsh world champ Lee Selby. But what now? After taking time to let the dust settle, we look at what the future holds for Frampton.
If Frampton had got the nod in Vegas last Saturday he would never have muttered the name Santa Cruz again, but now he seems intent on forcing a third and final decider with the Mexican. A straightener if you will. And fight fans would certainly welcome it, especially if it were to happen on UK soil.
He promised to come back a better boxer for the defeat, and with manager, and former world champion, Barry McGuigan saying that the third fight must happen, it does look inevitable. Cruz, a three-weight world champion, will certainly be game for that, but it’s doubtful it’ll happen in Britain. Money talks in this game, now more than ever, and no UK based promoter could match the riches of Vegas.
A fight with Lee Selby had everyone in the sport drooling, but it would’ve been a lot easier to make, and a lot more interesting to watch, if both fighters still had world titles. Selby has his, Frampton does not. Would the Welshman risk it for no reward? That remains to be seen and Carl may have to regain his strap first.
Having said that, if Frampton does fight Cruz again and loses, or if he wins and Selby keeps active and loses, where does that leave us? Boxing is not all about belts, some of Floyd Mayweather’s biggest contests didn’t need the bling. A competitive fight between two great warriors is worth more than any sparkly strap. Frampton’s desire to fight Cruz may force that one onto the back burner. Selby told Boxing News this week that he still welcomes a meeting with Frampton.
Quigg sends out a challenge
Scott Quigg, who lost a split decision to Frampton in Manchester in February 2016, didn’t let the grass grow, telling everyone who would listen that he wants a rematch with Frampton in his next fight, or a world title shot against Leo Santa Cruz.
The first fight between Frampton and Quigg was a bit of a stinker, to be honest, and it’s doubtful fans would take to a rematch. The first one was a PPV success though, and packed out the Manchester Arena, but they’d have to flog tickets cheap to get the same kind of interest. In an attempt to add a bit of needle, the Bury boxer called Frampton’s tactics into question and said that he ran from Cruz. That won’t sit well with Carl, especially while he’s hurting.