Frampton vs Santa Cruz: The Fight City Picks

No doubt, all of us fight freaks were hoping to see one or both of these guys take on the other “Jackal,” Guillermo Rigondeaux, but we got the next best thing as two of the top featherweights in the world clash for the WBA championship. It’s a high-profile battle featuring a pair of elite talents, so let’s stop bitching and get set for a match that just might offer us something special in terms of drama and excitement. No doubt, both Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton have the skill and power necessary to potentially win any fight and one could argue that each represents the biggest challenge (outside of Rigondeaux) available for both men. Bottom line: this is a great match-up. Without further ado, our picks:

Santa Cruz’ activity rate and ring generalship triumph over a game but overwhelmed Frampton in an entertaining scrap. “Terremoto” by clear UD.      — Rafael Garcia

While Leo Santa Cruz seems to have lost some of the shine he had while on his way up to featherweight, it’s Carl Frampton who has failed to impress in his two most recent outings. Rather than learn from his tough outing against Alejandro Gonzalez, Jr., he fought far too timid against Scott Quigg, who posed no threat until later in their fight. Santa Cruz will forever move forward, and if Frampton thought Quigg was tough, he’ll be in for an awful fright in this one. Santa Cruz by comfortable decision.          — Patrick Connor

I see Frampton’s boxing skills, footwork, handspeed and punch variety winning the day, in what will nonetheless be a high-octane, back and forth fight. The Jackal will have to endure some tough moments – he might even have to climb off the canvas – but he’ll eventually win on points.          — Ronnie McCluskey

Frampton’s recent ring history has been uneven. His last performance against Quigg ending up being a staring contest over the first half of the match, with the closing rounds not being much better. The skills that have enabled Santa Cruz to be so successful in three weight classes including a good chin, an aggressive style, and the ability to control the trajectory of a match will benefit him on Saturday night. I expect the bigger man in Santa Cruz to land the heavier blows, control the bout, and win the decision.     — Thad Moore

Despite his relatively small, compact build which suggests otherwise, Frampton is actually one of the better out-fighters in the sport at the moment. But judging by how effective Scott Quigg was against Frampton once he began applying pressure instead of waiting to counter, I suspect Santa Cruz’s much-improved ring-cutting footwork, imposing physicality and high-volume punching will enable him to dictate the location, range and pace of the fight and ultimately overwhelm the Irish challenger. The smart money will no doubt be on Santa Cruz to win by decision, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a late stoppage win for the Mexican champion either.         — Lee Wylie

Will Santa Cruz be too tall an order for The Jackal? Most think so.

Santa Cruz by TKO 10th. I like Frampton but he will be giving up 3 inches in height, 7 inches in reach and his power is not GGG or Wilder level. If LSC could stand up to guys like Mares, Mijares and Jesus Ruiz, he will be able to withstand Frampton’s power in a wild FOTY candidate.         — Chris Connor

I think this will be less competitive than folks are predicting. Santa Cruz will take full advantage of his height and reach, keeping Frampton at the end of his punches. His output will be too much for the Belfast native. Santa Cruz by late round TKO.         — Jamie Rebner

I was high on Frampton for quite a while, but alas, that’s no longer the case. While it’s true I’m not happy with either he or Santa Cruz for avoiding Rigo, I still feel Santa Cruz is really going to bring it this weekend. Although I could certainly see Frampton pulling off a technical victory, I have a hard time believing he will based on past performances. His bout against Quigg is widely regarded as a dud. What’s more, the last time he was stateside, Frampton got dropped by Alejandro Gonzalez. Sure, Frampton went on to win the fight, but it was a less than impressive American debut. Bottom line: Frampton has yet to impress when under the spotlight. Santa Cruz by UD.         — Sean Crose

Look for Leo Santa Cruz to display his usual propensity for throwing a ton of leather when he comes up against Carl Frampton this weekend. Along side his impressive work rate, ‘El Terremoto’ comes into this fight with advantages in both height and reach which should see him take home a unanimous decision over the man from Belfast.         — Daniel Attias

Leo Santa Cruz is a bad stylistic match up for Carl Frampton. “The Jackal” may be the technically superior pugilist, but Leo has the reach advantage and throws a high volume of punches. I simply don’t think Carl has the tools to overcome those disadvantages. Leo will use his jab to set up flurries that will disrupt Frampton’s rhythm all night long. Santa Cruz stops Frampton inside 11.         — Alfonso Jasso

Two weekends in a row where we see the top fighters of a division go head to head, that’s what boixng is all about! Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton promises to be a great action fight for Super Featherweight supremacy. Frampton should be able to hold his ground  and have early success, but I believe Santa Cruz’s volume punching and relentless pressure will be too much to handle for the Irish fighter. LSC by unanimous decision.     — Rene Ricardo Bernal

Frampton left hand
Frampton needs to sharper than he was in his U.S. debut.

Santa Cruz’ reach and punch-output will present problems, but Frampton’s faster footwork, movement and ring smarts should allow him to outbox the champion. Frampton wins by close decision.       — Matt O’Brien

Santa Cruz by split decision.           — Eliott McCormick

Santa Cruz is going to get off to a fast start and cruise to a unanimous decision. Frampton will make it interesting late, but it won’t be enough.       — Robert Portis

I smell an upset. The pressure is off Frampton and he’s going to give Santa Cruz all kinds of trouble with his quickness and mobility. It will be a rebound performance for the UK fighter as he rallies to take a close decision.    — Michael Carbert

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