By Keith Idec
Carl Frampton felt like “a failure” after losing for the first time as a professional fighter.
The former featherweight champion detailed the depressing days he endured in the aftermath of his loss to Leo Santa Cruz in the column he wrote for Sunday’s editions of the Belfast Telegraph, his hometown newspaper. Santa Cruz avenged his own first defeat by boxing better in their 12-round rematch and winning a majority decision over Northern Ireland’s Frampton on January 28 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“Losing my world featherweight title to Leo Santa Cruz hit me hard, harder than most could understand,” Frampton wrote, “and I have to give enormous credit to my wife, Christine, for getting me through some tough, dark days.”
The 30-year-old Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) will fight for the first time since losing to Santa Cruz on Saturday night in Belfast. He’ll meet Mexico’s Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) in a 12-round main event at SSE Arena.
The prideful Frampton hopes to send his hometown fans home happier Saturday night than the several thousand that made the long, expensive trip to Las Vegas for his rematch with Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs).
“After losing to Santa Cruz, I felt pretty low,” Frampton wrote. “I felt like a failure because I thought I’d just let down all those fans who had traveled to watch me and all the people of Northern Ireland whose continued support continues to be very humbling. I got very upset I hadn’t performed the way I wanted and it was melting my head a bit.”
Santa Cruz, of Rosemead, California, defeated Frampton by the same slim margin on two of the three scorecards (115-113). A third judge scored their rematch even (114-114).
The former two-division champion’s loss was close, but a frustrated Frampton began misdirecting his anger at his wife, Christine, who he credits for helping him snap out of that post-defeat funk.
“I felt I was taking it out on Christine a bit and that was wrong,” wrote Frampton, who beat Santa Cruz by majority decision in their first fight last July 30 in Brooklyn. “It was just the way I was feeling – it wasn’t me and she knew it. Christine got me through that. She got me to pick my head up and helped me to get my head straight and realize I lost to a great champion, I hadn’t been at my best, but it wasn’t the end.
“And I must genuinely say that the support of the fans was amazing and they helped me get over the first loss of my professional career as well.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.