- Sports and Recreation
Carl Frampton v Santa Cruz: The Rematch
By Lee Costello
In July Carl Frampton made the jump up to Featherweight and squared off with the unbeaten Mexican, Leo Santa Cruz, in a 12 round war that resulted in Frampton narrowly wining on a points decision.
This made Frampton a two-weight world champion as he brought the very same WBA belt back to Belfast that manager, Barry McGuigan, did 30 years ago.
Titles and unbeaten records aside, the actual fight was the spectacle that boxing had been crying out for and was the performance that everyone knew that Frampton was capable off.
In his previous two or three fights he had been below par to say the least and didn't showcase the array of talents that he posses.
A defensive but effective performance against Scott Quigg at the start of 2016 started to change the perception of Frampton in the sense that he may not be the most exciting fighter to watch.
That perception has been squashed after the Santa Cruz battle, as the two best fighters in the division lay it all on the line and traded shots at a ferocious rate for the whole 12 rounds.
Even in the dying minutes the two gladiators were going for broke and swinging shots with every ounce of energy that their tired body's could muster.
In the end it was the early rounds that nicked it for Frampton but it really could have gone either way.
A rematch is simply a mouth-watering prospect for fight fans and Frampton winning the last fight might make him the bookies favorite but as far as I can see it's as tight as it can possibly get.
When two greats get in the ring it can often be rather anti-climatic, such as Mayweather v Pacquiao or Haye v Klitschko.
This was one of those special events where the fight actually exceeded the expectations of the build-up and the rematch will be exactly the same.
Frampton will be full of confidence in the knowledge that he can take Santa Cruz's punishment, while a motivated Santa Cruz will be anything but cagey as he will put his life on the line to win his title back.
This time however, Frampton will be looking for the knockout and it is well within his power to do so.
If he does knock him out then he really does have a case to be in the top end of the pound for pound rankings and his already cemented place in boxing history will be catapulted to an even higher level and then the skys the limit from there as he could look at unifying the belts against other Featherweight supertsars like Lee Shelby.
On the other hand the most dangerous thing you can give a fighter, espically one as gifted as Santa Cruz, is motivation.
It's never easy to accept that first loss on your track record and even though it is permanent, the least to can do is rectify it by beating the person who beat you.
If that is the case, then you can only imagine a trilogy fight will be on the cards to settle the matter once and for all.
For now however, we can just look forward to watching another exhibition in quality boxing.