Leo Santa Cruz is a world champion once again after reclaiming his WBA Featherweight world title in another epic showdown with Carl Frampton last night in Las Vegas.
The two picked up right where they left off and gave the fans exactly what they were expecting. Although this time the action played out slightly differently. Many people expected Frampton to repeat his victory from the first fight and maybe even win more convincingly this time around, but it was Santa Cruz who stepped up his game and put on a performance to remember.
Cruz changed his game-plan completely and chose to box rather than brawl unlike the first fight. The Mexican-American dictated the range and pace superbly, and won the battle of the jabs early on. This type of style and game-plan probably didn’t surprise Frampton as it is what Cruz actually said he was going to do. But just how good he managed to do it and keep it up the whole fight probably came as a big surprise to the Irishman.
Frampton to me looked a little flat. But it may be unfair to judge him on his performance considering it was probably only because Cruz boxed so well. Although the fight was close throughout and on the scorecards, it was always Cruz that seemed in control. Frampton just couldn’t seem to find the range against the taller man and was found missing or swinging wildly on many occasions. His biggest success points came when he managed to pin Cruz on the ropes and unload.
Irish fan favourite Frampton did have a slightly stronger finish to the fight, applying the pressure and working well to the body, but he wasn’t dominant enough to close the gap on Cruz who deserved the majority decision victory on the judges’ scorecards (114-114, 115-113, 115-113).
The two fighters now have one victory each and it sets us up for an epic trilogy. Both fights were close and both were unbelievably entertaining, and I’m sure a third fight will be exactly the same. Both men seem game for it so we shouldn’t have to wait long!
Garcia Vs Zlaticanin
In the co-main event Mikey Garcia re-emerged on the world scene after two and a half years out with a stunning 3rd round knockout over the formally unbeaten Dejan Zlaticanin to win the WBC lightweight world title.
He is now a three-weight world champion and the way in which he won was very impressing. From start to finish he controlled the fight with ease. Zlaticanin was meant to be a tough fight for Garcia but the Montenegrin just couldn’t get close without eating the jab or getting tagged hard.
Garcia showed exactly why he used to be a pound-for-pound contender with a stunning combination knockout in the 3rd round. The ref didn’t even start to count as it was clear Zlaticanin was unconscious and in a bad way. Thankfully the former champ was okay and back on his feet after a few minutes.
Mikey Garcia has now announced himself right at the top of a jam-packed lightweight division with the likes of Jorge Linares, Anthony Crolla and Terry Flanagan, all potential future opponents for the 29-year old. Definitely something for fans to be excited for!