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Favourite Frampton – “I always prepare like an underdog”

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Carl Frampton [23(14)-0] shocked a lot of people in America last Summer.

‘The Jackal’ went into his first bout with Leo Santa Cruz [32(18)-1(0)-1] in New York in July as an underdog with the bookies and with most Stateside experts picking the Mexican-American to triumph.

Opinion closer to home was ‘slightly’ more favourable towards Frampton, and the Belfast man would score a glorious victory in a Fight of the Year candidate at the Barclays Centre, winning the WBA featherweight belt and entering the pound-for-pound rankings in the process.

Next up for Frampton is a rematch with Santa Cruz, this time at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on January 28th, and the Ulsterman will enter the bout as a slight favourite (over evens with all bookmakers, ranging from 10/11 to 4/6). Opinion has also swayed, with the majority now siding with Frampton, and many believing he will win more comfortably this time round.

Frampton however stressed that this change from being a slight underdog to a slight favourite does not effect him or his preparations one bit.

The 29 year old told media at the Frampton-Santa Cruz press conference in Belfast yesterday that “I always prepare like an underdog. You prepare like you’re going up against it and I am going up against it.”

“Leo Santa Cruz is a very good fighter, he’s a three-weight world champion. He’s a proud man and he’ll be looking to get this title back but it’s up to me not to allow that to happen and I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to get the win.”

There is a lot of respect between the pair, which has been bolstered by the Summer clash, and this has seen a lack of ‘trash talk’ in the build up to both their initial encounter and the upcoming rematch.

Describing his fondness for ‘El Terremoto,’ Frampton admitted that “he’s a nice guy and he’s respectful to me and, like anyone else, if he’s respectful to me I’m going to be respectful back.”

“There’s no need for the hype, the fight sells itself. There was no hype before the first fight and a lot of people and a lot of people paid attention and got involved in it. I think this one sells itself – it was a great fight the last time and it’s going to be the same this time – if not better.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie