by Shaun Brown
Carl Frampton says there is no bigger fight in the featherweight division than a rubber match between himself and WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz, 29, made it two wins out of two against rival Abner Mares on June 9 to follow up on his victory over his fellow Mexican three years ago.
Honours are even between Frampton and Santa Cruz after the pair shared the spoils, over two fights, between July 2016 and January 2017. In fight one, a 2016 fight of the year contender, Frampton took a majority decision verdict in Brooklyn to win the WBA title at 126lbs but Santa Cruz would reverse the result in Las Vegas six months later.
Writing in his Sunday Life column (June 17) the 31-year-old Northern Irishman said: "It looks like he (Santa Cruz) is heading for a unification fight with WBC champion Garry Russell.
"Some people in America, like ESPN writer Dan Rafael, believe it is a bigger fight than me and Santa Cruz, but believe me, there is no bigger fight in the featherweight division than our third battle.
"Santa Cruz earned a million dollars in the fight with Mares and he knows there will be a lot more on the table for our third fight. There would be UK and USA television rights and every fight fan wants to see a third bout to complete the trilogy. Santa Cruz didn't mention me (after the Mares fight) but I still believe it can happen in 2019."
In the meantime Frampton has business of his own to tend to. The former IBF/WBA super bantamweight champion will defend his WBO Interim featherweight title against Luke Jackson on August 18 at Windsor Park, Belfast.
The fight was formally announced yesterday (June 18) at a press conference in the city, and his promoter Frank Warren is adamant that should Frampton win then he will go straight into an all-British showdown with unbeaten IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington at the end of the year.
Shaun Brown covers British boxing for Boxing Scene. Contact him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0