By Bill Tibbs: After Leo Santa Cruz’s impressive win Saturday night from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, he was immediately asked questions regarding a bout with European champion Carl Frampton. Santa Cruz is as hot and active as you will find in boxing right now. And the World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight champion didn’t fail to deliver in “Sin City” fighting in support of the Saul Alvarez vs. Alfred Angulo main event.
The Mexico-born, Rosemead, California-based champion swept all three scorecards over game-but-outgunned challenger and former world champion Cristian Mijares, winning a 12-round unanimous decision. The fight going the distance didn’t tell the whole story as by bout’s end, Mijares looked beaten and bloodied while the always-smiling Santa Cruz looked like he was ready to go for a late-night meal with his girlfriend, who sat ringside cheering on the former International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion. This was Leo’s eighth fight in less than two years and the champion, 27-0-1 (15), doesn’t appear to want to slow down the pace.
“Teremoto” is ready and willing to fight anyone and everyone in and around the bantamweight division. One of the factors that have drawn the all-action, volume-punching Santa Cruz to fight fans is his activity level and his nonstop attack in the ring. And after his convincing victory Saturday night, in which he cashed a career-high $500,000 cheque for his efforts, his appeal and popularity will only grow. Santa Cruz was making the second defence of the WBC super bantamweight title he won in the summer of 2013 after a nice run as the IBF bantamweight champion through 2012.
Next month, undefeated European Boxing Union (EBU) super bantamweight champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton, 17-0 (12), will battle Mexican veteran Hugo Cazares in a WBC super bantamweight title final eliminator. And if Frampton comes out victorious, the fight boxing fans want to see is the popular Belfast, Northern, Ireland-born Frampton - who European fight fans also refer to as “Brick Fists” - against Santa Cruz. While hugely popular in his native Ireland, unbeaten power-puncher Frampton would love to expand his profile across the pond and is gunning to fight for a world title. If all goes well for Frampton next month in Belfast, we could have some Irish eyes smiling later in the year.
In his post-fight interview, Santa Cruz said, “If Carl Frampton is next, I want him next. I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.” That answer is just one reason why Santa Cruz is making a name for himself on the big stage and drawing a lot attention to boxing’s super bantam bangers.
Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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