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Frampton talks of beating “bully” Santa Cruz

Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz boxing photo and news image

By Scott Gilfoid: Carl Frampton says he sees Leo Santa Cruz as a bully, and claims that he was able to push him back in their last fight in July, and didn’t let him have his way. Frampton has made adjustments to his game with his training for their rematch this Saturday night on January 28 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Frampton thinks that with those adjustments, he’ll be able to beat Santa Cruz easier than he did last time they fought.

Since Frampton’s win last July against Santa Cruz was a controversial one, it’s difficult to take anything he says as serious. It was a win that appeared to many boxing fans to be more of a robbery than an actual win. What’s kind of odd is how Frampton speaks about the fight as if it wasn’t controversial.

Frampton speaks as if he clearly beat Santa Cruz, when in reality, he didn’t. That’s the sad part. I thought Santa Cruz easily won the fight, with the cheering of the pro-Frampton crowd on the night, it looked like he was given a win that he didn’t deserve.

Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) will be defending his WBA Super World featherweight title against Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs) in their fight on Showtime Boxing.

“If you look through his career, he has fought the same way the whole time, trying to overwhelm and bully opponents,” said Frampton to “I’m the only fighter who has been able to push and hit him back and not allow him to have it all his own way – that’s the difference.”

Frampton didn’t actually push Santa Cruz back at all last July in their previous fight. What happened was Santa Cruz choose to try and fight on the outside in the first five rounds rather than taking the fight to Frampton the way that Scott Quigg had. Once Santa Cruz fell behind in the fight, he changed tactics by applying pressure from round 5 to 12. I hate to say it, but it was Santa Cruz who was backing up an increasingly more tired looking Frampton for the entire second half of the fight.

There’s no game plan that I can think of that Frampton can use for him to beat Santa Cruz on Saturday. Frampton doesn’t have the engine or the inside fighting skills to beat Santa Cruz. The only thing I can see Frampton doing is holding excessively to try and keep Santa Cruz from fighting him on the inside.

That’s what I think Frampton will try to do in the fight. If the referee allows Frampton to hold for 12 rounds, then we could have a close win by him. I think Frampton is going to use the punch and grab technique to try and snatch a win. If you haven’t seen that strategy before, it involves a fighter that throws a punch and then immediately grabs his opponent in a clinch to keep them from throwing a shot back at them.

Referees are supposed to prevent fighters from doing that by taking off points and/or disqualifying if need be, but unfortunately it’s allowed to go on in the sport. If Frampton chooses to do that on Saturday night without being penalized, then it’ll be up to Santa Cruz to try and wrestle his way out of the clinches in order to throw his shots.

Fighters like light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev are very difficult to use the punch and grab technique against, because he’s able to work an arm free while held and then pound his opponent until they let go of him. Santa Cruz might need to use the same strategy on Saturday night if Frampton chooses to try the clinch and grab technique on him. I’m hoping that Frampton doesn’t resort to holding to try and win the fight, but I think he will.

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