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McGuigan: Santa Cruz is phenomenal, but Carl beats him comfortably

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Shane McGuigan agrees that Leo Santa Cruz is Carl’ Frampton’s toughest fight to date – but believes ‘The Jackal’ has the ability to win comfortably.

The 27 year old, the youngest ever lead trainer of a World champion, is currently in New York training Frampton ahead of the July 30th showdown at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.

Speaking yesterday at the World-famous Gleason’s Gym, McGuigan credited the current WBA featherwight champ, describing how “Leo Santa Cruz is unbeaten and there aren’t really any weaknesses from my perspective.”

“He’s a phenomenal fighter, but I don’t believe he’s fought a fighter of Carl Frampton’s caliber, as an all-around fighter.”

“We’re finishing up camp now and making sure we’re 100 percent read. We have to be 100 percent to fight Leo Santa Cruz.”

The coach, who also trains stars George Groves and David Haye, thinks that “when he [Santa Cruz] meets someone who is as good, or in my opinion, better than him, we’ll see what he’s made of.”

“I don’t think Santa Cruz has ever felt the power that Carl brings before. I think Carl can beat him comfortably if he continues to prepare well, and then steps into the ring and does what he’s capable of doing.”

Complimenting his own charge, McGuigan explained that “Carl is extremely heavy-handed. He’s extremely skillful, a true all-rounder.”

“He really lives the life, and that makes it easy for me. The way he trains, how he eats, how he sleeps: he takes it seriously and takes care of himself.”

The forward-thinking has jetted out Stateside with Frampton four weeks in advance, and says that “the transition coming over to New York to finish training camp has been great. We could have waited until closer to fight night but we want every single percent to our advantage.”

“We’re still acclimatizing to the heat, the jet lag is no problem and we’re going to be ready on fight night.”

While the Belfast man is a slight outsider with the bookmakers, McGuigan isn’t paying much heed, and anticipates a catapulting Frampton victory after a great fight, reasoning that “I wouldn’t be taking on this fight it I wasn’t extremely confident in Carl, even though he’s coming in as the underdog.

“I think it’s going to make for one of the most exciting fights of the year.”

“This fight is history in the making. It’s a fight that can really put Carl on the map. It’s always a huge opportunity when you’re fighting for a title, against someone of Santa Cruz’s caliber.”

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