(Photo credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME) Has tomorrow night’s WBA featherweight title clash between defending champion Leo Santa Cruz and challenger and super-bantamweight champ Carl Frampton been given enough hype? Has the clash of unbeatens been given the respect and attention it deserves? There are a number of internet articles out there pushing the fight, mostly Irish websites doing the work it must be said, but there doesn’t really seem to be a massive buzz surrounding this fight; a fight that really does deserve to be looked at as a potential classic.
Frampton’s not at all bothered by the lack of hype; as he made clear on his Twitter page an hour ago: “No hype required. Real fighters fight!” he wrote.
Indeed, the Irishman and the Mexican are real fighters, willing to take on the best (Guillermo Rigondeaux aside, it must be said!) and tomorrow’s fight will surely get the attention it deserves both during and after the action. There is a good chance tomorrow’s battle will give us a FOTY candidate in a year that has already been treated to at least two classics. Frampton, 22-0 is the betting underdog and most experts are siding with Santa Cruz, and maybe this perceived clear winner logic is what is stopping some fans from getting all worked up about the fight. But Frampton insists he will defy the odds and those picking against him by beating Santa Cruz, either on points he says, or by stoppage.
Santa Cruz, 32-0-1 is the bigger name in the US of course, and Frampton did not impress, by his own admission, in his US debut, when he had to get up from two early knockdowns against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. Also by his own admission, Frampton has not put on a truly impressive showing for some time, since his IBF 122-pound title win over Kiko Martinez in September of 2014. Frampton will rise to the occasion tomorrow, make no mistake about that.
Santa Cruz is the bigger name, he is favoured by most to win and he is, like Frampton, unbeaten; but “The Jackal” is in New York to make his name a familiar one with the US fight crowd. Santa Cruz could be in for the toughest fight he’s had in some time, and that’s saying something. Could we even see the start of a trilogy, tomorrow’s battle is so good? Maybe, and then the hype would be on the scale it deserves to be for this particular rivalry. Here’s a prediction, how about a 12-round draw tomorrow?