Frampton: Santa Cruz Rubber Match is The Biggest Fight at 126

By Keith Idec

Carl Frampton is getting ready for another opponent, but a rubber match with Leo Santa Cruz remains the fight Frampton wants most.

Frampton and Santa Cruz won a majority decision in each of their first two fights. Frampton feels he wants that third fight more than Santa Cruz, though.

“Well, it has to happen at some point, I think,” Frampton told in a video interview posted Monday. “I seem to be the only one talking about it between the two of us, and I think he needs to be a little bit more vocal because it’s one each. Again, it has to happen. The fight has to happen. You can’t leave it [at] that. I think it’ll be a bitter pill for me to swallow if a third one doesn’t happen. But I think it will. I think it’ll come off at some point.”

frampton-santa-cruz (1)_2

Belfast’s Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs) had hoped to lure Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) to Northern Ireland for their third bout, but he essentially has given up that pursuit.

Their first fight, which Frampton won, took place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in July 2016. Their immediate rematch, which Santa Cruz won, occurred at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in January 2017.

“I’ve said and I’ve told him I’m willing to travel,” Frampton said. “I think this idea of bringing him to the UK is out of my head now. I just don’t think they’re ever gonna come to the UK. So I’m willing to travel to settle the score. You know, at one each it has to be done. So I hope it comes off.”

Santa Cruz lives and trains in the Los Angeles area. The WBA featherweight champion said following his unanimous-decision win over Abner Mares (31-3-1, 15 KOs) in their June 9 rematch at Staples Center that he wants to box WBC champ Gary Russell Jr. (29-1, 17 KOs) in a 126-pound title unification fight.

Frampton feels their third fight is “bigger” than Santa Cruz-Russell. The former featherweight and super bantamweight champ also realizes that if he can win a featherweight title he’ll become a more attractive option for Santa Cruz.

Frampton and Australia’s Luke Jackson (16-0, 7 KOs) will fight for the WBO interim featherweight title August 18 at Windsor Park, an outdoor stadium in Belfast.

“If I go into 2019 with a world title and Leo’s still a champion, which I expect him to be,” Frampton said, “then you’re talking about unifying and maybe that’ll force his hand a bit more and it’s a bigger fight then as well.

“But in the featherweight division at this point, although I don’t have a world title, me against Leo Santa Cruz to settle the trilogy is the biggest fight. It’s bigger than him unifying with another champion at the minute. Me and Leo Santa Cruz is the biggest fight in the division.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing. 

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Santa_ on 06-27-2018

[QUOTE=MidWestBrawler;18894973]I def prefer this plan as well, please not a 3rd time[/QUOTE] It's only fair to Framps that they have a third. The first fight was razer close and the second wasn't wide by any any means. They should do…

Comment by MidWestBrawler on 06-27-2018

[QUOTE=The Big Dunn;18892096]I think Valdez/Leo and Russell/Leo are bigger fights at 126 myself but I would welcome a 3rd fight between them.[/QUOTE] I def prefer this plan as well, please not a 3rd time

Comment by DJrabit on 06-26-2018

Santa Cruz vs Russel is the fight we all want to see but 1. Russell already fought is one fight per year and 2. PBC top fighters always avoid each other.

Comment by tokon on 06-26-2018

The biggest fight at 126? For Frampton, and in his mind, it is. But, as others have said, there's better fights to be made eg LSC- Russell. Frampton needs to win a world title and/or convincingly beat a decent ranked…

Comment by 1hourRun on 06-26-2018

There is nothing to see in a rematch, Santa Cruz made the adjustments with his father free of cancer and we seen the result ; a dominant performance, a schooling ; Santa Cruz made Fraudton look like a amateur. The…

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