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Carl Frampton wants Oscar Valdez and Leo Santa Cruz after Luke Jackson

Image: Carl Frampton wants Oscar Valdez and Leo Santa Cruz after Luke Jackson

By Tim Royner: Carl Frampton is already looking past his opponent Luke Jackson for this Saturday towards bigger matches against WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz and WBO champion Oscar Valdez. But before interim World Boxing Organization featherweight champion Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs) can think of facing those two guys, he needs to defeat the unbeaten #5 WBO Jackson (16-0, 7 KOs) this Saturday night on August 18 at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

If the 31-year-old Frampton can’t get past Jackson, then there’s no point in him thinking of fighting a rematch against Santa Cruz, who arguably beat him twice, and the unbeaten 27-year-old Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs). Those guys are fighting at a high level and not showing signs of aging the way that Frampton is.

If everything goes alright against the Australian Luke Jackson on Saturday, Frampton wants to face either Oscar Valdez or International Boxing Federation 126 pound champion Josh Warrington (27-0, 6 KOs), who is coming off of a 12 round split decision over IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby on May 19. It may prove to be an undo-able fight for Frampton against Valdez right now due to him coming off of a broken jaw from his fight against Scott Quigg earlier this year in March. When Valdez does return to the ring, his promoters at Top Rank likely are going to match him against a weaker opponent rather than throw him into the deep end straightaway against a good fighter that could give him problems like Frampton. That’s not to say that Valdez can’t beat Frampton, because he probably can. It’s just that it’s a difficult fight for Valdez and he might reinjure his jaw if he faces a puncher in his first fight back.

“If I beat Jackson, then Warrington or Valdez, I will have a title and that puts me in a stronger position and ready to tackle Santa Cruz,” Frampton said to ESPN.com. ”That might make him want to come to the table, negotiate and talk about the fight again. That is the fight that appeals to me more than any other.”

Frampton was beaten by Santa Cruz by a 12 round majority decision in their rematch on January 28, 2017. In their first fight, Frampton beat Santa Cruz by a controversial on July 30, 2016 in New York. Frampton was fighting in front of a pro-Frampton crowd in New York when he fought Santa Cruz the first time. Ever since losing to Santa Cruz in a rematch, Frampton has been calling for a rematch. That fight will likely happen soon. Frampton has won his last two fights since then in defeating Horacio Garcia and Nonito Donaire. Despite winning the fights, Frampton looked beatable and not the same fighter that he’d been before his two wars with Santa Cruz. It appears those fights took something out of him.

You’ve got to give Garcia and Donaire some credit for making Frampton look bad because those are good fighters that would make anyone look bad no matter who it is. The main thing that prevented Frampton from getting a third fight against Santa Cruz is his decision to push for it to take place in Belfast. Given that Santa Cruz feels he was already robbed once in his controversial 12 round majority decision loss to Frampton in his first fight against him in New York in 2016, he’s been hesitant in wanting to travel to Belfast for a third fight. The second Frampton vs. Santa Cruz took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. That was a neutral territory fight, as Santa Cruz’s fan base is in Southern California, not Las Vegas.

Former heavyweight unified world champion Tyson Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) will be making his second comeback fight this Saturday night on the Frampton-Jackson card in the co-feature bout against Francesco Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KOs) in a 10 round fight. Fury, 29, chose to take an undercard slot rather than headlining. A win for Fury over Pianeta will send him into a mega-fight against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) in November on Showtime PPV. There’s a load of money that Fury can make fighting against Wilder, and even more money fighting Anthony Joshua next year in April if everything goes right. The politics in boxing in the UK will likely prevent the Joshua vs. Fury fight from getting made in 2019. It’ll take a much bigger offer by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing to Fury to get him to agree to a fight against Joshua. Fury isn’t likely going to agree to a flat fee offer to fight Joshua unless it’s a tremendous offer.




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