Santa Cruz is coming to town? – Frampton reveals “light at the end of the tunnel”

Despite saying that he will not come to Belfast, and the WBA last week ordering a mandatory defence against Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz [33(18)-1(0)-1] and his team remain locked in negotiations with Carl Frampton and his team regarding a rubber match this Summer.

The WBA featherweight champion had promised at the end of last year that he would rematch Belfast favourite Frampton [23(14)-1(0)] in The Titanic City, but would go back on his word in the aftermath of his January win in Las Vegas, citing his father’s fear of bias scorecards.

With Frampton insistent on fighting at home after over two years on the road, the fight looked to be off the table – and last week looked dead and buried following the WBA’s order of a Santa Cruz-Mares match-up next.

‘The Jackal’ however has come out to reveal that he and his team are still in negotiations with the Santa Cruz camp and that he believes the WBA’s mandate can be circumnavigated. In addition, Frampton goaded ‘El Terremoto’ by describing how it would be a “stain” on the Mexican-American’s legacy should he continue to avoid a rematch.

Writing in his weekly column for the Sunday Life, Frampton explained that “there may still be light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Santa Cruz is still the fight my team and I want and are still looking to make it happen and although I can’t be overly optimistic it’s still possible, it’s still there to be made if Santa Cruz will take it – and he knows that.”

“Stranger things have happened in boxing and deals can be made very quickly so for people to say at this point that the fight will not happen is off the mark.”

Addressing the WBA’s order of a Santa Cruz-Mares rematch – which would be a money-spinning local dust up in Los Angeles – Frampton outlined how “the World Boxing Association have ordered Santa Cruz to defend the featherweight title against Abner Mares and negotiations have tp be done within 30 days before it goes to purse bids.”

“Obviously time is running out but whoeve I am fighting I expect it to be done within 30 days, so Santa Cruz is still a possibility.”

“Negotiations are still going on and I’m sure that the WBA would be understanding if the third fight with Santa Cruz can be made.”

Appealing to Santa Cruz’s fighting spirit, Frampton reasoned that “one thing everyone can see is that I am the one pushing for this fight to happen and if Santa Cruz gets to the end of his career and hasn’t agreed to a third fight, if it stays one-all in out rivalry then I think that will be a stain on his legacy.”

“It’s up to Santa Cruz to back up his words and do a deal. I just hope he doesn’t use the WBA’s announcement to run down the time and dodge me.”

“The world wants to see us fight, we’re still negotiating and it can still get done.”

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