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Steve Bunce unimpressed with “disrespectful” pre-fight talk from Team Frampton

Boxing pundit Steve Bunce was not impressed with Carl Frampton’s preparations for the Léo Santa Cruz rematch in Las Vegas last month.

Not physically, but tactically. Bunce felt that the assumption that ‘El Terremoto’ could not change his style from the first fight was a big oversight and a bad mistake.

Frampton won the first meeting between the pair in New York last Summer, however in the rematch Santa Cruz would implement his jab to much greater effect, taking a deserved majority decision win.

This use of the jab and a more considered approach from the Mexican-American, was something which was at-odds with the pre-fight predictions from Frampton, Shane McGuigan, and Barry McGuigan – who all felt the fight would be a repeat of the first meeting.

Bunce however was not surprised. Analysing the WBA featherweight title clash on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said that “Santa Cruz won it quite comfortably. He changed his tactics quite considerably from the first fight, of course he did, he lost the first fight. He’s not an idiot, of course he’s going to change his tactics.”

Disappointed with the approach from the Belfast man and his team, Bunce described how “the entire Team Frampton need to have sat down, and I hope they’ve had the inquest since then, because some of the things they said were a bit disrespectful to Santa Cruz because they dismissed him even though the man at that point had had six twelve-round fights in a three-year period, in world title fights – and he had changed his style, dramatically changed his style. Barry McGuigan was adamant he couldn’t fight a different style.”

“You can get your phone out, no matter where you are in the world and watch him in the last few rounds or the first few rounds of various world title matches to see that he can fight two ways.”

However, Bunce did not suggest that the loss was self-inflicted, and noted how “the big factor was, and everybody dismissed this, was the presence of his cancer-free father, José, in the corner.”

“What they [Team Frampton] said was ‘well José was there in New York last Summer.’ He was there, but he was at ringside, he wasn’t in the ring. He may as well have been on Mars.”

“You need to be talking to the fighter in front of you, whether he’s your son or just someone who trusts you, giving him the message. That’s what José didn’t do in the first fight and what he did, he was splendid in his Stetson, in the second fight. That’s what the factor was, that and the fact that the McGuigans and Frampton underestimated Santa Cruz.”

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