What should be next for Carl Frampton?
By Hector Franco
This past weekend in Brooklyn, New York fans were witness to one of the best fights to take place this year. Unified 122-pound champion Carl Frampton moved up to the 126-pound division and faced WBA champion, Leo Santa Cruz. Coming into the bout Frampton was the underdog as Santa Cruz’s bigger stature and volume punching seemed to give him an advantage. The fight played out differently in the ring. Frampton won a unanimous decision in a fight where he landed the cleaner and more effective punches. With the victory, Frampton became Northern Ireland’s first two-division world champion. In 2016, Frampton is the clear frontrunner for fighter of the year with wins over Scott Quigg and Leo Santa Cruz who were both undefeated.
With Frampton now a top player in the featherweight division, it makes a division that was already stacked even bigger. There are many options for the Irish fighter. An all U.K. bout with fellow featherweight champion, Lee Selby could be big business in the U.K. Selby would represent a challenging style for Frampton, as he likes to operate on the back foot using a jab. The WBC featherweight champion, Gary Russell has the fastest hands in the division, but as seen in his loss to Vasyl Lomachenko he is beatable. Selby would seem like the logical choice for Frampton, as it would garner the biggest audience.
The two-division champion also has the option of participating in rematches. After some confusion as to whether Leo Santa Cruz had a rematch clause with Frampton, it was reported to boxingscene.com yesterday that Santa Cruz had exercised his option for a rematch.
Eddie Hearn also in an interview with fighthype.com also stated that Scott Quigg was looking for a rematch with Carl Frampton. For Frampton a rematch with Santa Cruz may be more enticing as the fight with Quigg was a disappointment that dropped the stock of both fighters. Santa Cruz, however, was not the winner against Frampton and should not be dictating the terms of where the fight takes place. As the winner, Frampton should be able to have the fight where he chooses.
The Jackal from Belfast, Ireland has more than enough fighters on his plate to last for a few years. In the post fight press conference of the Santa Cruz fight, Frampton rejected the idea of facing 122-pound champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux. The Cuban Jackal is one of the most avoided fighters in the sport. At this point, Frampton doesn’t need to face Rigondeaux as there is more than enough competition at 126. If Rigondeaux wants Frampton he may want to move up to 126 and let the WBA force a match-up between the two, as they are both champions for the organization. Frampton now has the full attention of the boxing world. What happens next will be interesting.
(Featured Photo: Marilyn Paulino)