The WBA featherweight champion puts his title on the line against former foe Abner Mares in the Staple Centre in Los Angeles next Saturday [June 9th].
If, as most are backing, it is a case of repeat rather than revenge in the all-Mexican three-weight world champion showdown, Santa Cruz wants to go on a unification mission.
Considering they twice traded leather in entertaining bouts and the fact it remains one win apiece, the 29-year-old is continually linked to Frampton.
The Belfast fighter has been vocal about his desire to finish of the series with a win but, while Santa Cruz has sang off a similar hymn sheet, ‘El Terremoto’s’ actions suggest a rubber match isn’t his top priority, especially if it meant traveling to Belfast.
Speaking ahead of his world title defence which is broadcast on Showtime next week the reigning champion pushed Frampton further down the pecking order.
If he emerges victorious Santa Cruz will target the other champions at the weight. Considering a world title has all but been ruled out for Frampton’s Windsor Park August 18th event it would be safe to predict any hope of the trilogy happening will be put back until 2019 at the earliest.
At present Frampton isn’t as attractive to Santa Cruz as belt holders Josh Warrington [IBF], Gary Russell Jr [WBC] and the man who has Frampton as a mandatory Oscar Valdez [WBO].
Both Warrington and Valdez have been mooted for Frampton for December but Santa Cruz wants a piece of the champions too.
“I want a unification,” he said. “Hopefully because of the win, I would like to unify with any other champion.”
“There’s Josh Warrington, Gary Russell, Oscar Valdez and even a third fight against Carl Frampton,” he added before hinting at a move to super feather.
“But for any reason or anything that we can’t make those unifications or any other fights, yes, I would like to move up to 130lbs and look for another title for 130. But mostly I want to make a fight against another one of the champions.”