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January 28, 2017 Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz remtach MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada for the WBA Super World featherweight title
Carl Frampton loses rematch fight to Leo Santa Cruz
It was a night of loss for Carl Frampton as he slumped to rival Leo Santa Cruz in their rematch bout. The Nothern Irish boxer lost to his Mexican opponent by points, an incident which marked his first ever career loss. The two pugilists were facing each other in a rematch fight which was staged at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night. This followed their July 31, 2016 encounter in which Frampton walked away with the WBA featherweight belt.
A tit for tat affair
The Frampton vs Santa Cruz rematch bout was a perfect example of a tit for tat game. Frampton dealt Santa Cruz his first ever professional loss in July and Cruz paid him in his own coin Saturday night by punching him to a first ever career defeat.
Going into the Saturday fight, The Jackal had been tipped to win it too. This however would not be the case as his opponent Santa Cruz was intent on claiming back the title which once belong to him. Santa Cruz had been the holder of WBA (super) featherweight title from 2015 until July 2016 when The Jackal made away with it.
A narrow loss to Santa Cruz
Had the cards been in the Belfast man’s favor, he could easily have drawn Saturday’s fight with Santa Cruz instead of losing to him. He was awarded a draw score by one judge while two other judges gave him scores which were very close to those of his opponent. The judges’ cards read 114-114, 115-113, and 115-113 at the end of the match. This explains just how narrowly The Jackal lost to the Mexican puncher at the Las Vegas venue.
Just like his one year younger opponent did in their most recent duel, Frampton also won their first fight by majority decision. This fight too witnessed a draw of 114-114 from one judge and tallies of 116-112 and 117-111 from the other two judges. These two last scores are however not as close as those of the Saturday night duel.
How the rematch fight went down
The Jackal and El Terrimoto treated fans to an exciting 12-round duel. It was Santa Cruz who dictated the initial pace of the match as he opened round one with a sharp right hand which triggered counters from the Belfast native. He reacted with the well-aimed counter punches that he is famous for.
The first round had been a fast paced one. The second round was however a much slower one with Frampton controlling the fight with sharp jabs and right hands. Frampton spent much of the third round trying to escape Santa Cruz’s punches but he managed to corner the Mexican in the last seconds and drive him to the ropes.
Round four of the match saw both men’s feet gripping the canvas firmly as they traded blows. Frampton did fall down at some point but the referee Kenny Bayless ruled that his knockdown had been caused by a push and not a punch. Coming into the fifth round, Santa Cruz had his way and threw accurate attacks on The Jackal to the excitement of his ringside supporters.
Frampton however made a comeback in the sixth round. He had close range hooks which he carried through to the next round. He came forward in the seventh round with shots which made his Latino opponent gasp for breath. Frampton had the eighth round too in his control. He seized this opportunity to send Santa Cruz to the ropes. 28 year old Santa Cruz managed to redeem himself in the ninth round with a superbly hurled right hand.
Frampton had his ring Ninja moments in the middle rounds but the closing rounds were evidently not in his favor. He at one point attempted to descend on Santa Cruz with shots only to be met by lethal body shots from the Michoacán native. His attempts to knock out Santa Cruz in the very last round also didn’t bear any fruit. Santa Cruz was the victor at the sounding of the last bell.
A third fight
Speaking to the media during their postmatch interview, both men welcomed the idea of a third fight. Should it be a possibility, the third fight may be staged at Frampton’s home city of Belfast. The rematch fight had been expected to take place in Belfast but its venue was later on announced to be Las Vegas. Frampton had said after the first match in New York that he wanted their rematch to be in Belfast in front of his home crowd.
Apology to fans
Following his loss to Santa Cruz Saturday night, the Ulsterman apologized to the 4,000 fans who had travelled from Nothern Ireland to the US to watch their beloved countryman fight. He said he was sorry but the best man had to win.
A two-division world champion, Frampton’s career record now stands at (23-1, 14KOs) while that of his opponent Santa Cruz stands at (33-1-1, 18 KOs). Santa Cruz is a former three time world champion.