By Marc Livitz: Over the past few years, the names of Leo "El Terremoto" Santa Cruz and Carl "The Jackal" Frampton have been floating about the boxing periphery and looking to surface as well as move past the biggest names in the ring. On Saturday, July 30 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, an expertly matched, difficult to pick and sure fire crowd pleaser is set to take place as two world class unbeaten champions collide. The Premier Boxing Championsmain event will be telecast in the United States on Showtime Championship Boxing.
Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KO’s) is the current WBA super featherweight champion and will make the third defense of the title he won from Abner Mares in the summer of 2015. The undefeated champion from the Los Angeles area (by way of Mexico) is a fan favorite whose affable personality compliments his signature smile and great attitude. He’s set to take on a tough, gritty ring veteran in Frampton, who will be making his debut in the 126 lb weight class. Leo’s father and trainer, Jose is currently suffering from cancer in his skull and spine, so it’s with a heavy yet determined heart that he prepares for this noteworthy challenge.
Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KO’s) hails from historic Belfast, Northern Ireland and he last defended his super bantamweight title in February in an all U.K. battle against Scott Quigg of Liverpool at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The venue was packed not only with English and Irish fans, but masses of security as well. For the most part, the night went off without a hitch and Frampton prevailed with a close spilt decision win. For many in the American audience, July of last year was their first glimpse at the fighter known as "The Jackal". Although he cruised to a definitive unanimous decision victory over Alejandro Gonzalez on American TV in El Paso, TX., he was sent to the canvas for the first time in his career in his first fight outside of the United Kingdom.
Not long after his battle with Quigg, Carl decided to move up in weight, from 122 to 126 pounds to face greater opposition as well as stay in tune with his aging body. The 29 year old Irishman will undoubtedly face his toughest test as a professional on July 30 when he finds Leo Santa Cruz across the ring from him.
On Tuesday afternoon, Santa Cruz and Frampton shared their thoughts and views during a pleasant international media conference call.
Quotes Listed Below
Opening Statements, Leo Santa Cruz: "I’m excited to go to New York and hopefully getting some new fans. I’m ready to go."
Carl Frampton’s Opening Statements: "I’m excited about this fight. It’s huge. I’ve been involved in some big ones back in the U.K., but this one will really capture the public’s imagination. He’s a world class fighter who’s only coming to do one thing, just like me.
That will make from a great night."
Santa Cruz’s View of Frampton: "I’ve only seen a bit of him, but from what I’ve seen,
he’s great. He has great footwork and power. I like his style. His style and mine can make things exciting. We can go toe-to-toe if we get there and the fans will enjoy it."
"I think he’ll be the best fighter I’ve faced so far. He’s a big superstar over there in the U.K."
Carl on Facing Leo: "The plan was to move up and I spoke with my team. We agreed
that I’d only move up for a big fight, for someone like Santa Cruz. I could have stayed at
122 (lbs.) but it was getting harder to stay there. I’m 29 years old now and I feel much stronger at 126. I’m eating and training well. I’m full of energy. I won’t go back to 122."
Leo’s Plan for July 30: ""I’ll try to break him down and work the body. But if that doesn’t work, then we have a plan for that. We’ve been training for either an inside or outside fighter. I’m not Scott Quigg. He was more careful. Actually, neither guy wanted to risk anything. Not me, though. I’ll have him in trouble the whole time."
Frampton’s Thoughts on the Same: "It’s not going to be easy but I think I can punch very hard. He’s never been hit by anyone like me. At 122 (lbs.), the weight was taking away from my power. I was over 130 in the gym but by fight night, I could feel the difference. When
he gets hit hard by a guy like me, he may think twice about coming forward."
"There’s different ways that this fight can be won. Leo can box a bit and I’ve seen that on a few occasions. He prefers to be a front footed fighter and coming forward. He’s a world class fighter and not a one trick pony."
Leo’s Thoughts of a Packed, Pro-Irish Crowd in NYC: "I don’t think about it because it’s only us in the ring. It doesn’t matter to me. I would even fight over there in Northern
Ireland if we needed to. That’s what a champion does. He fights anywhere."
On Similarities to Abner Mares: "He’s similar to Mares and he’s almost the same size.
This will be a very entertaining fight and the best man will take it. We’ll go out there to prepare for a full twelve rounds. And we’re ready to make it a war."
Frampton’s Thoughts of an Irish Crowd in The Barclays Center: "It’s two guys fighting in the ring and it doesn’t really matter who’s making all the noise, not much anyway."
On Facing a Taller Opponent: "Most of my opponents have been taller than me. My
sparring partners are always taller than me. Leo started at bantamweight. I finished my amateur career at featherweight. I’ll be stronger and punching harder. I’ll be able to push him back if I want to do that."
Santa Cruz on Gaining Inspiration from His Father: "He encouraged me to stick to the
plan and do my job. He’s been a big help and told me to continue training. Hopefully,
he’ll be in my corner that night."
"It’s more motivation for me to give him his first loss. I’ll be giving him my best. We’ll be making it a great fight for the fans."
Carl on his 126 lb. Debut: "I wanted to move up for a big name and we got one. I probably would’ve stayed but it was hurting me to stay at 122 and you were only seeing maybe seventy to eight percent of what I can do."
"I’ve been chasing these guys for a long time. I made myself the mandatory to fight Leo Santa Cruz in 2013 when he was fighting at 122. It’s interesting that once I was placed on my backside for the first time that they all wanted to fight me."
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July 19, 2016