Carl Frampton is predicting that his rematch with Leo Santa Cruz will start out the same, but end differently.
In their first meeting in New York last Summer, Frampton made a brilliant start and banked the earlier rounds before being dragged into something of a firefight as Santa Cruz made a strong finish. The bout would go to the scorecards where Frampton would prevail via majority decision (114:114, 117:111, 116:112).
The pair rematch on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and ‘The Jackal’ believes that he will again build an early lead. However, he also believes that, unlike their first fight, he will be able to punish an onrushing Santa Cruz [32(18)-1(0)-1] in the later rounds and claim a more decisive win.
Frampton [23(14)-0] cites a number of reasons for this prediction, and has outlined that he will be smarter in the rematch, that he feels stronger and has trained better this time round, and that he has a mental edge.
The Belfast man explained how “I think I’m going to get another win. I feel like I’ve been improving during training and I feel like I’m getting stronger and punching harder. If I have to go into the trenches again, I’m prepared to do that.”
“This is my second fight at featherweight, so I think I’m getting more used to the weight. I feel more comfortable overall this time. Going into this fight, I have the psychological edge. I’m relaxed, excited and happy about boxing again.”
Frampton feels that, with some slight tinkering from the first battle, he can dominate the bout and suggested that a knockout is a strong possibility.
The 29 year old reasoned that “if you look at Leo’s style, it’s exciting and it’s made him a three-weight world champion. The whole way through his career he’s fought with aggression. He has a high work-rate and he tries to bully opponents. I don’t think he’s going to do a lot different this time.”
“I believe that I’m going to face a very tough Leo Santa Cruz, as always. This is going to be another difficult fight, but if I make the adjustments I’ve had to in the gym, I’ll win the fight more convincingly.”
“If I can get a lead on the scorecards and make him desperate, that’s where I’m really going to capitalize. I believe that if I hit anyone in these weight divisions clean on the chin, they can go down and out.”
Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show: