3 More Rounds

Frampton edges Santa Cruz by majority decision

Photo: Amanda Westcott / Showtime

Photos: Amanda Westcott / Showtime

Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) became the first fighter from Northern Ireland to win a title in a second weight class on Saturday night, as he put on one of his best performances in outpointing Leo Santa Cruz at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Frampton smartly boxed by using his jab and left hook, while maintaining a safe distance, making Santa Cruz miss with wide hooks and crosses.  In the second round, Frampton connected with a left hook to the ear of Santa Cruz that buckled his knees and nearly sent him down – causing him to fall back against the ropes.  Though Santa Cruz didn’t seem badly hurt, his equilibrium was definitely in a funk.

Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs) began to close the distance in the middle rounds, as he started turning the fight into a slugfest, though his advantage in height and reach never became much of a factor.  Frampton regained his composure in the later rounds as he counterpunched well and continued to land left hooks and right uppercuts.

Final scores were 114-114, 116-112 and 117-111 in favor of Frampton.

Frampton beats Santa Cruz

“It’s a dream come true,” said Frampton. “I had the dream of winning a world title and I won it, but I never thought I’d win in two divisions. It was a tough fight, I wanted it to be a tough fight because I wanted a fight the people could remember. I respect him a lot. He was a true warrior.

“Distance control and hitting hard were the keys. I won the fight because I didn’t lose control,” added Frampton. “I earned his respect early in the fight with my distance control and hard punching. I would love to take this man to Belfast for a rematch and show the people there what a great fighter he is.”

Santa Cruz, was obviously disappointed in the decision and felt that the reaction from the bipartisan crowd added to the judges’ scores.

“It was a tough fight from the beginning,” Santa Cruz said. “We knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I thought it was close when I was in there throwing. Maybe the judges were hearing the crowd and thought that every little punch was scoring.

“He has a difficult style, but we know his style and will get him in the rematch. The crowd was cheering, and I think the judges saw that. Maybe, without that, we would have had a draw or maybe a decision.”

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