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Frampton’s on fire, featherweights are terrified?

Carl Frampton

By Robbie Bannatyne: It is rare in modern boxing that the pre-fight promises of promoters are reconciled with pulsating performances by their fighters in the ring. However, last weeks hellacious battle between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton was heaven sent, a true gift that helped restore fans faith in the art of prizefighting.

For all that the essence of boxing is to hit and not get hit, there is no purer a spectacle than to watch two highly skilled warriors in their prime go toe to toe for twelve rounds of calculated chaos.

Too often the product on offer pours cold water on the fighters and promoters pre-fight declarations of war. However, the Santa Cruz and Frampton World Boxing Association Super featherweight world title bout caught fire from the beginning and burned like a Belfast bonfire until the final bell. It was truly an iconic prizefight, one that will ensure both men go down in the pantheon of modern boxing greats.

These sorts of fights define fighters careers, allowing them to transcend the sport and earn the sort of life changing money that their ring endeavors richly deserve. Whatever Frampton and Santa Cruz earned for their fight wasn’t enough, and the rematch must be on pay-per-view. These proud warriors deserve our well earned cash for serving up such an exciting contest. I have no doubt that their respective styles will dictate that the rematch will be no less rich in drama.

After last weeks fireworks at the Barclays Centre, New York, the featherweight division is front and center in the hearts and minds boxing fans around the world, with Carl Frampton in particular on the precipice of super-stardom. The rest of the current champions of the 126lb weight class are all genuinely elite technicians so any unification clashes will be gratefully received.

From an entertainment perspective, another epic between Frampton and Santa Cruz would be a delicious prospect and probably the pick of the bunch for most fans. In Britain, a blockbuster between Carl Frampton and IBF belt holder Lee Selby would also be a sure fire hit at the box office. Throw in newly crowned WBO king Oscar Valdez and WBC champ Gary Russell Jr for more sizzle at the summit of the 126lb division.

Thanks to the thrilling nature of his victory over Santa Cruz, Frampton has separated himself from the chasing pack of wolves in the featherweight division. For now, at least. Although Frampton’s on fire, the featherweights aren’t terrified. The Belfast boy has a target on his back and he will be a marked man from now on.

But he wouldn’t have it any other way. His drawing power on both sides of the pond has risen exponentially, meaning he is primed and ready for legacy building fights that will be vastly lucrative financially. All the top featherweights, barring Bob Arum’s Oscar Valdez, are aligned with Al Haymon, smoothing the path for unification fights to determine who really is king of the hill at featherweight.

The featherweight division was already on fire but the arrival of Carl Frampton has added more fuel to the flames.

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