The Rematch: Frampton vs. Santa Cruz II

The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight, The Empire Strikes Back…no matter how great the original was, sometimes in life the sequel is just better. As a fight fan there are many great examples, Gatti vs. Ward, Pacquiao vs. Marquez to name a couple and it’s this type of fight we hope to see on Saturday night. Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz served up a fight of the year contender that has us seriously excited for the rematch. Two warriors who don’t back down from a fight and simply want to prove to themselves and the world that they are the best. If you missed that fight, then you missed out…but…the fight gods have been good to you and this Saturday night you get a second shot.

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If this fight is half as good as the first one then we’ll be talking about this for a long long time. SO…who’s gonna win? Well here are the key’s to the fight…

Stand Tall 

Leo Santa Cruz is a very good fighter and works very well behind a strong jab. Problem is, he doesn’t use it as often and as effectively as he could. He normally has a height advantage against most fighters but has the tendency to fight small and as a result not make the most of it. It was a mistake in the first fight and he can’t afford to make the same mistake again.

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Tempo

Whoever does the better job of setting the pace and tempo of the fight will win. Both fighters are at their best when they are applying pressure and can dictate the action. Neither fighter is used to taking a step back to anyone, and it’s a beautiful thing to see. Whichever man can impose their will on the other for the longest time, will see their hand raised at the end of the fight.

Movement

Carl Frampton is an excellent all around fighter but he has one glaring weakness, and that’s movement, specifically footwork. When you watch him closely he has a dangerous tendency to move consistently move backwards in straight lines. Couple this with raising his head and leaving himself exposed to counter punches out of a clinch, and you have a recipe for disaster. Santa Cruz isn’t a typical high mobility, move and hit with angles

Inside Fighting

Frampton especially,  is comfortable working on the inside and can dominate. Santa Cruz is an equally capable pressure fighter who is also happy being head to head with another guy and going to work. The problem is Santa Cruz’s defence when fighting on the inside, his right side is always open and therefore is extremely vulnerable to left hooks. If Carl Frampton can consistently put together combinations in the clinch, then Santa Cruz will be in for a depressing evening.

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Conclusion

FRAMPTON BY UD

While he has some obvious vulnerabilities which can be capitalised on, Leo Santa Cruz is not the type of fighter to be able to do it. Both men have similar strengths and will try to do similar things which means this fight will purely come down to execution. If it pans out like that then I believe Carl Frampton is a better fighter and will execute like it.

Whether I’m right or wrong, either way it will be one hell of a fight!

Enjoy!

Fighter in Focus: James DeGale

“I believe I am the no.1 Super Middleweight fighter on the planet.”

Likeability is the oxygen for recognition. Whether we like it or not, it’s the way the world works. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have, how qualified you may (or may not) be, if your success is dependent on mass appeal then likeability is everything. Exhibit A: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. One of them should be President Elect the other one actually is.

In Britain we have an obsession with the plucky underdog, as a nation we get behind them like nothing else. Wait a minute isn’t the country called Great Britain…errrr yeah. The British public do love greatness, just as long as you don’t acknowledge you’re great. Be dominant, but don’t act like it. Be the best, Believe you’re the best, but never ever say it. That’s one sure fire way to rub people up the wrong way and torpedo that likeability we all so desperately need.

I don’t agree with that, and neither does James Degale.

He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right. – Confucius

Who? If I told you there was a young good looking fighter with charisma, and dynamic skills. This boxer is a former Olympic Champion as an amateur, and a British, European, Commonwealth, and World Champion as a pro, you would think he’d be a household name and celebrated by all. No, not in this case. “Chunky” is a marmite fighter. He is an outstanding fighter and one of if not the very best around…he knows it, and he’s not afraid to say it. Even I as a self confessed fan, respect the talent, but still struggle to fully wrap my arms around the man himself. The talent is undeniable, shot variety, footwork, speed, combinations he genuinely has it all. If only he was a little bit…I don’t know less marmite.

Here’s why…

The one where he arrived…

James Degale vs. Paul Smith

Likeability: 5/10

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This fight was for the British title and in only his 9th pro fight. An absolutely devastating performance leading to a stoppage and announcing that he was the real deal. Bigger and better things were expected and they did… just not in the shape we were all expecting!

The one where he came back down to Earth

James Degale vs. George Groves

Likeability: 2/10

Pictures of the Year
George Groves
Picture; Kevin Quigley

Domestic rivals, previous stable mates, and two men who genuinely dislike each other. A classic British match up and unfortunately for Degale he was the villain. What did I tell you about Britain and the plucky underdog, and when that underdog wins! Christmas come early. To this day this is still the only loss on Degale’s record and he has since gone on to win a world title. “Saint” George Groves has since lost 3 times, all while attempting to win a world title…

The one where he became a BOSS

James Degale vs. Andre Direll

Likeability: 6/10

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Redemption. The fight where he finally climbed the mountain and got the world title belt he always seemed destined for. An incomplete performance where he showed the best and worst of his talent as a fighter. Dominated the first half of the fight but took his foot off the gas and let Dirrell back into it later on. Worryingly this has become a trait. This needs to stop!

James Degale should win this fight against Badou Jack, if he does, let’s hope he learns and works on that likeability. His money and legacy depend on it.