The day was July 30th, 2016, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York – when two unbeaten fighters took the risk. Former Unified WBA & IBF Super-Bantamweight Titlist 🇬🇧Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (22-0-0, 14KO👊) moved up in weight, to immediately face whirlwind WBA Featherweight Titlist 🇲🇽Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 17KO👊) as the headlining event for Showtime.
Santa Cruz was on a roll, racking up notable wins throughout his ledger, and doing so in the fan-friendly style that admirers of the sport have grown to love. A winner of 12 title fights, in 3 different divisions, he was about to face someone entirely new to him, in terms of the bag of tricks that Frampton possessed as a brilliant counterpuncher.
HOW THE BOUT WENT FOR THE UNBEATEN
Frampton’s defense and reaction time was superb early on, dealing with Santa Cruz natural penchant to come forward in spurts. As Leo swung away in the second round, Frampton too became brave, trading power shots on the inside, to the pleasure of the packed house in the 🏟️arena, as the fight that was expected was beginning to break out.
Frampton surprised onlookers at the end of the second, when he rocked Santa Cruz with a good left hook to the temple that sent him stumbling backwards, establishing a respect point from the Champion. With that being said, Leo loves a good fight too much to be rendered into any second guessing.
Despite being the shorter fighter, with a 7 inch reach disadvantage, Carl for the bulk of the fight fought off his back foot, boxing, while picking and choosing his spots to dart in. Santa Cruz midway through the fight figured out that firing his punches straighter were getting to the 🎯target at a higher rate than his activity during the beginning stages of the bout.
The fight was a competitive one throughout, and they both showed out in the Championship rounds. The fight went the full 12, and due to Frampton’s early work notably, the judges took note of it. With scores of 📝114-114, 116-112 and 117-111, Carl Frampton picked up the biggest win in a career defining moment by MD, and became a 2-division Titlist, taking the WBA Title that Santa Cruz had in his possession.
To follow, they fought a second time in their next bout, and Santa Cruz, behind an altered gameplan, and an extra dimension to his game, managed to take his title back, leaving the count between them as 1-1. Santa Cruz at one point promised the rubber-match, and for it to happen in Belfast, but the bout unfortunately never came to fruition.
For Carl, the first fight stands out as the crowning moment of his career – a career that he just wrapped up this past Saturday, and he now moves on to a different phase of life.