This bout pits two world-class operators against each other in a mouthwatering rematch that will go a long way to defining both fighters’ legacies. Pinnacle’s odds – Frampton the favourite at 1.657* and Santa Cruz the outsider at 2.350* - suggest the rematch will be reminiscent of the first fight which saw the pair slug it out in a close topsy-turvy battle at the Barclays Center in New York.
What did we learn from the first fight?
The initial meeting showed us that both Frampton and Santa Cruz are operating on an equally similar level. Frampton was the busier of the two early on, using countless movement and combinations to bank rounds whilst also nullifying Santa Cruz in close.
“The Jackal” connected with the more solid punches and landed 46% of his power shots in the first meeting between the two. Santa Cruz managed to land just 21 of the 83 punches he threw per round - The Mexican had landed 47% in his previous 9 fights, which displays the level Frampton is operating on.
The Northern Irishman has gone on record to say he is expecting an easier night’s work than the previous meeting in July, but Santa Cruz showed enough in the second half of the first fight to suggest that value in the Frampton vs. Santa Cruz odds may perhaps lie with the Mexican.
Boxing rematches and handling a first loss
The outlook of a rematch can leave any competitor disposed to psychological and mental weaknesses, even at an elite level. Frampton will have the edge as he remains an unbeaten fighter and doesn’t know how to lose.
Three-division world champion Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs) will not want to follow the fortune of predecessors who were certainly not the same after their first loss.
Carl Froch notably had to seek psychological assistance before his return world super-middleweight title bout with George Groves at Wembley Stadium back in 2014. Although Froch was victorious in the pair’s first encounter, The Cobra demonstrated the mental and psychological scars adversity can bring to a boxer.
The capability to rebound back from defeat requires tremendous mental strength in any sport, but even more so in boxing.
Donald Curry ruled as world welterweight champion in the 1980s looking unconquerable in his first 25 fights. But his indestructibility was crushed when he famously lost to Brit Lloyd Honeyghan in 1986 - Curry then went 9-5 in succeeding fights.
In more recent times, Joe Calzaghe broke Jeff Lacy over 12 one-sided rounds in Manchester, leaving the heavily fancied American as a subsequent journeyman. Kelly Pavlik had won all 34 fights, but was schooled over the distance by future hall of famer Bernard Hopkins. The Ghost was never the same again and drifted away into retirement.
Mexican warriors are known to lay it all on the line and it is unlikely “El Terremoto” will fall into these depths, but bettors should note it is an obstacle the former WBA featherweight champion will need to overcome when analysing the Frampton vs. Santa Cruz odds.
The general consensus is that Santa Cruz is considerably better prepared to deal with Frampton this time around after the revival of his coach and father, Jose. The Mexican blamed sub-par preparation last time out, suggesting that the result would have been different had his father been in camp the whole time.
The capability to rebound back from defeat requires tremendous mental strength in any sport, but even more so in boxing. It is routinely the difference between world class fighters at the elite level.
The first bout was an extremely tight affair which saw both boxers having success. This should allow Santa Cruz to rebound from defeat relatively unscathed, but this will only be evident once the first bell sounds.
Interestingly, defeat in the first contest for Santa Cruz has reversed the Frampton vs. Santa Cruz odds in Northern Irishman’s favour – this suggests the bookmaker underestimated the true ability of Frampton in the first fight. Santa Cruz was the 1.425 favourite, while odds of 3.300 were offered on Frampton.
Will it go the distance again?
Simply put, Santa Cruz must land cleaner punches this time around, whilst pressing Frampton aggressively for the full 12 rounds to avenge the defeat. The Mexican showed in patches in their first fight the power, variety and velocity in punching he does possess. The task for “El Terremoto” will be to implement this game plan over the whole twelve rounds.
A repeat victory for Frampton would give “The Jackal” huge prospective for the real big fights. This will mean the Ulsterman will be fully focused on defeating Santa Cruz for the second time, and on top of his game. The WBA champion will also hold the psychological advantage that he knows he can defeat Santa Cruz, and ultimately has an edge over Santa Cruz if he performs to his true capabilities.
The Northern Irishman has gone on record to say he is expecting an easier night’s work than the previous meeting in July.
It is almost certain to be a good, competitive distance fight. Both fighters have never been stopped and the pair only share a small handful of knockdowns against them. The boxer who can adapt best from their first battle will be the most likely to emerge victorious.
Opinion will be divided on the outcome, but the probability remains that Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz II should follow a similar scenario to the first fight.
Frampton will look to box at range, move around, and utilise his jab against the Mexican. Whether or not Santa Cruz can consistently find a way inside Frampton’s elusive style will be the key to victory for “El Terremoto”. If he can, 2.350* could represent real value on the Mexican.Ready to get into the action? Get the best Frampton vs. Santa Cruz odds at Pinnacle.
*Odds subject to change