The WBA featherweight champion traded wins with Frampton but, despite the Mexican-American’s promises of a Belfast rubber match, they have since gone their separate ways following the Las Vegas rematch at the start of last year.
Santa Cruz [35(19)-1(0)-1] has defended the belt he reclaimed from Frampton with wins over Chris Avalos and Abner Mares while ‘The Jackal’ moved to a new team and has rattled off wins against Horacio Garcia, Nonito Donaire, and Luke Jackson.
Both now look set for fights this winter – with Santa Cruz primed to defend his belt against an unnamed foe and Frampton due to challenge IBF champion Josh Warrington in England in December.
While he has recently spoken of a desire to face WBC titlist Gary Russell in a unification, Santa Cruz seems to have had another change of heart and now wants to fight the Belfast boxer next in what, all going well, would be a unification.
Outlining his plans, the 30-year-old told FightHub that “I want to finish this year fighting one more time and I’m looking forward to fighting in November.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be any of the champions – Oscar Valdez has a fight in December, Carl Frampton, he just fought.”
Revealing his Frampton rematch desire, Santa Cruz described how “if I get the win [in November], I want to fight Carl Frampton – people want that fight, I want that fight.”
“I want to make the third fight against him, Carl Frampton, he wants the third fight too.
“I’m pretty sure and I’m positive it’s going to happen next year.”
While Warrington is next on the agenda, the Santa Cruz fight remains Frampton’s dream goal. The Jamie Moore-trained fighter is keen to make amends for a slightly under-par performance when he lost the title and, having seen the hopes of a home fight versus the champion fade, has began stating his willingness to travel to America once again.
Santa Cruz infamously went back on his word regarding a Belfast rematch following the second fight and has repeatedly reasoned over the past year and a half that he will do whatever his father and trainer José instructs him to do.
31-year-old Frampton [26(15)-1(0)] has criticised the L.A.-based fighter for this passive approach and, while he is again expressing a desire to fight, Santa Cruz admits that the rematch hopes lie entirely with the men behind him.
‘El Terremoto’ explained how “I already talked to my team and they said yeah, they probably can make it next year.”
“I’m pretty sure they are going to make it next year.”
Watch Leo Santa Cruz’s interview with FightHub in full below: