This Saturday night, Irish featherweight superstar Carl Frampton comes head-to-head with rival Leo Santa Cruz for the second time in a highly-anticipated rematch.
I’m sure this rematch doesn’t even need a preview or a build-up to get you hyped. The first fight between these two took place back in July and the action was incredible. The two men went toe-to-toe in a close contender for ‘Fight Of The Year.’ Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton (23-0, 14 KO’s) shocked the world and put on his career-best performance to walk away with the WBA featherweight world title and an undefeated 2-weight world champion. However, Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KO’s) didn’t disappoint with his efforts and still put on a performance that deserves a rematch.
This is a fight that guarantees action and excitement no matter how many times it happens, and in many people’s opinions, one that could go either way every time. You would have struggled to find someone 100% confident of predicting a clear winner going into the first showdown. This time, however, it might be a little bit easier.
The key factor to Frampton winning the first fight via majority decision, was his ability to do everything well. Santa Cruz was good, as always, when he was on the front foot trying to push the Irishman back but it was Frampton that for the majority of the fight showed variation in his work and that he can do a bit of everything. He set traps and constantly countered his arguably stronger opponent, and also managed to hold his own on the inside for the first 8/9 rounds, something that not many people would be able to do against Cruz.
Santa Cruz, a 3-weight world champion himself, had his best success in the last few rounds when Frampton clearly started to tire. The 28-year old landed some very heavy shots on his Irish opponent in the final three minutes. This is something I can think he can take confidence from going into the rematch. If he can cause Frampton to tire earlier, he may be able to start taking over in the later rounds, which I’m sure was probably the game plan going into the first fight. To do this, the Mexican will have to do a lot more work to the body and keep on the front foot trying to break Frampton down.
However, I expect this to only play into Frampton’s hands once again, which means I can only predict that we will see the same result at the end of this fight. Maybe even a wider unanimous decision for Frampton this time. It’s guaranteed to be another explosive, competitive one but when you look at it stylistically, Cruz only has one way of winning and one way of doing it whereas Frampton can go through all the gears and fight in various different styles. I expect another top-class performance from ‘The Jackal’, cementing himself in the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world right now.