by David P. Greisman
Leo Santa Cruz threw 1,000 punches.
That kind of volume is normal for Santa Cruz. But there were a few rounds against Carl Frampton this past Saturday night that Santa Cruz was held to noticeably less activity — 53 shots thrown in Round 1, 53 in Round 3, and 63 in Round 5, according to CompuBox. And he was held to just a 25 percent connect rate, going 255 of 1002, landing only one of every four shots he threw. That included 64 of 451 jabs (14 percent) and 191 of 551 power shots (35 percent).
Frampton said he used distance control to stifle Santa Cruz. He stayed just far enough away from Santa Cruz that Santa Cruz needed to come forward to attack, and Frampton was quick enough to move away. He darted in and out, landing, occasionally exchanging, and taking less damage in return.
“He was moving. He had good footwork. He got good movement,” Santa Cruz said at the post-fight press conference.
“My dad wanted me to box him. I think my game plan was to put pressure in the beginning and get him tired. When I put pressure, I think I landed more punches. In the rematch, we’re going to work on what we did wrong. We’re going to go out there and from the first round we’re going to throw everything.
“I wanted to go inside and brawl,” he said. “I was using more of the distance stuff. It wasn’t working. In the rematch, if we get it, we’re going to put pressure on from the first round and win the fight a lot easier.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]