Former IBF/WBA super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) will be stepping out of the safe confines of the UK this Saturday night when he challenges the talented WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (32-0, 18 KOs) this Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
This will be the second time that the 29-year-old undefeated Frampton has fought in the United States, and this time he has a good chance of leaving the country with his first loss of his seven-year pro career.
Frampton barely escaped with his unbeaten record intact the last time he fought in American when he was dropped twice by the tough as nails Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez last year in July 2015 in a fight that took place in El Paso, Texas. Frampton won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but he was still mighty lucky he got out of the fight with his hide intact. If Gonzalez had a little more seasoning, he probably would have finished Frampton off for a KO win.
“He’s three inches taller, but I don’t mind that,” Frampton said to the Mirror. “It’s very rarely that I box someone who is smaller than me and I will be heavier than him on the night. He started as a bantamweight and when I saw him in the flesh in El Paso, he didn’t look like a really strong guy, he looks skinny.”
Frampton is mistaking bulk for punching power. For some reason, he doesn’t understand the principle of leverage. The taller the fighters are the bigger the punch. That’s just the way it is. The short guys with all the muscles frequently can’t punch as hard as guys that are taller and thinner. It’s all about leverage. The only time a bunch of muscles helps athletes is when they’ve involved in sports like wrestling and football. It definitely helps to be muscular in those sports, but in boxing having a ton of muscles doesn’t help you out. It slows you down, makes you weaker, and not able to compete taller, leaner guys.
Frampton was more muscular than his past opponents Scott Quigg and Kiko Martinez, and both of them had much better punching power. It didn’t help Frampton that he had a bunch of useless beach muscles. They didn’t help him, especially when he was getting nailed over and over again by Quigg last February. The only reason Quigg didn’t win the fight was because he fought a dumb fight. I’m not sure what the trainer was saying to him in between rounds in the first half of the fight, but he should have been lighting a fire under his backside to get him to start fighting hard.
“Santa Cruz has never fought defensively in his life. He’s come-forward and it will be interesting when I start catching him,” said Santa Cruz.
Well, considering that Santa Cruz will be enjoying a HUGE seven-inch reach advantage in this fight, I kind of doubt that Frampton is going to be catching him like he says he will. I mean, I don’t see how in the world that the short-armed Frampton is going to be able to catch Santa Cruz with shots in this fight when he comes forward. Frampton’s T-Rex arms aren’t going to be able to reach the much longer-armed Santa Cruz with his punches no matter how hard he tries in this fight.
Santa Cruz, 5’8” will be three inches taller than the 5’5” Frampton in this fight, and you can bet that he’s going to be utilizing his reach the entire time by punching down on Frampton and not getting him get close enough to land his short punches.
Santa Cruz looked sensational in his last two fights in stopping Kiko Martinez and outpointing Abner Mares. Those are two fighters with comparable talent to Frampton, and neither of them were able to compete with Santa Cruz in those fights. Santa Cruz used his reach to dominate Mares last year in beating him by a 12 round decision last August.
In Santa Cruz’s fight against Martinez, he purposefully let him get close to and his big power shots so that he could beat him at his own game. Santa Cruz traded shots with a smile on his face until taking Martinez out in the 5th round. Santa Cruz fought in a way that Frampton didn’t dare to do in his two fights against Martinez. You can argue that Frampton fought scared in both of those fights against Martinez.
I see this fight going badly for Frampton. I hate to say it, but I think Santa Cruz is going to use the same blueprint that Quigg created in how to beat Frampton. In this case, Santa Cruz is going to put tons and tons of pressure on Frampton until he blasts him to smithereens in the fifth or sixth rounds on Saturday night. I can’t see Frampton going the distance on Saturday night because he’s going to be catching boatloads of shots. I’m just staying. It’s going to end badly for Frampton.
Prediction: Santa Cruz by 5th round KO.