Count Carl Frampton among those bothered by the WBA sanctioning the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz fight for versions of its 130-pound and 135-pound titles.
The contracted weight limit for the Davis-Santa Cruz clash is 130 pounds, the maximum for fights in the junior lightweight division. They’ll fight for Santa Cruz’s WBA’s “super” super featherweight title, a championship Santa Cruz won after Davis vacated it late last year to move up to the lightweight division for his most recent bout.
The WBA also will allow Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) and Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) to fight for the WBA world lightweight title October 24, despite that they are not contractually permitted to weigh in as lightweights.
Frampton feels that the WBA’s decision to allow them to fight for titles in two weight classes is duplicitously a way to ensure that their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event remains a title fight if Davis fails to make weight again.
“I think it’s a good fight,” Frampton, who split a pair of featherweight title fights with Santa Cruz, told BoxingScene.com. “I think it’s a bit silly that there’s two weight-division titles on the line. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It’s almost like it’s set up for Gervonta Davis not to make 130, with the 135 title on the line.”
Baltimore’s Davis struggled to make weight again before his last fight, even though he moved up from 130 pounds to 135 for his first meaningful fight as a full-fledged lightweight.
The 25-year-old Davis initially weighed in at 136¼ pounds for his 12-round, 135-pound title fight against Yuriorkis Gamboa on December 28 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The strong southpaw later officially came in at 134½ pounds for a fight he won by 12th-round technical knockout the next night.
In August 2017, Davis gave up his IBF junior lightweight title at the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s scale because he was two pounds overweight for a 130-pound championship defense versus Francisco Fonseca at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Davis knocked out Fonseca in the eighth round on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor undercard, yet he still left town without his title.
If Davis doesn’t make weight the day before he’s supposed to face Santa Cruz, he’ll have to pay a substantial financial penalty to Santa Cruz to move forward with their fight. They then would at least fight for the WBA world lightweight title Davis won by beating Gamboa.
“It’s a joke,” said Frampton, a former featherweight and junior featherweight champion who’s now a 130-pound contender. “It really is. I don’t know what else you can say about that. Again, for me, looking in on the outside, it looks like it’s just been set up because they’re not expecting Gervonta Davis to make 130.”
Belfast’s Frampton (27-2, 15 KOs) is scheduled to face Scotland’s Darren Traynor (16-3, 7 KOs) on Saturday night at BT Sport’s Studio in London. Frampton’s fight will headline an ESPN telecast in the United States (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT) and BT Sport’s broadcast in the United Kingdom (8 p.m. BST).
Ireland’s Michael Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) is scheduled to face France’s Sofiane Takoucht (35-4-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight fight that ESPN and BT Sport will air before Frampton fights Traynor.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.