Paulie Malignaggi tipping “versatile” Carl Frampton to prevail in Leo Santa Cruz rematch

Two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi believes it wont be easy, but is tipping Carl Frampton to make it 2-0 against Leo Santa Cruz on Saturday night.

‘The Jackal’ defends his WBA featherweight title against Santa Cruz at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and Malignaggi feels it will be repeat rather than revenge in Sin City.

And not just a repeat in result, the New Yorker is anticipating another Fight of the Year contender from the two 126lbers following their epic first encounter at the Barclays Centre last July.

Malignaggi told BetFred that “I could see the fight becoming a real close, burning type of fight where both guys really have to suffer through it, being a very physical fight. They’re both championship level fighters so I think mentally they’ll be ready for that kind of fight anyway and that’s the way I see it going once again.”

One factor which ‘The Magic Man’ feels may be an advantage to Santa Cruz is venue – with the bout taking place even closer to his Californian home this time round. This, Malignaggi predicts, will result in a much larger proportion of Mexican fans in the arena than were at the pair’s first fight in New York last Summer.

Malignaggi outlined how “this time, Santa Cruz is almost basically fighting at home – fighting a Mexican in Vegas, that’s pretty much a home fight. Maybe you can edge it a little bit his way because of that reason.”

That being said, giving his prediction, Malignaggi still plumps for the Belfast man, and described how “I edge a little bit to Frampton, he’s a little bit more versatile ”

“If you put a gun to my head I’d edge slightly to Frampton.”

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