There are some serious fights coming up this month with very close unification matches starting off with Badou Jack Vs James DeGale this weekend for the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight world championship. The fight that is really getting every casual and every purist fans mouth-watering is the Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) and former three-division world champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs) rematch headlined by Premier boxing champions out in Las Vegas live on Sky Sports January 28th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
This will also be a double header with lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs) making his first title defence against fan favourite and former two-division world champion Mikey Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs).
Frampton and Santa Cruz will be a rematch from their July fight of the year candidate where we witnessed a fantastic brawl between the Jackal and Santa Cruz in an action packed 12 round duel. The first fight was at the Barclay’s arena in Brooklyn, viewed as neutral ground due to Brooklyn’s large Irish community as you might have seen at UFC 205 when the “Irish King” McGregor took the stage.
This is once again in my eyes a true 50/50 fight, when it comes to boxing ability I believe Frampton out does Santa Cruz in every department. This stems back from his amateur pedigree as Frampton was one of Ireland’s best amateurs ever and is well on course to repeat this in the pro ranks.
What you saw in the first fight was a very high punch volume from Santa Cruz which tends to be his game plan in most fights but he was not the aggressor to the smaller Frampton. Frampton picked his moments, stealing punches to win the rounds. As this fight is closer to Santa Cruz you could say he may have the so-called home advantage, so I can see it being a tougher fight for Frampton to win this time around but I do believe he has the arsenal to become victorious again and set up a summer unification in Belfast vs Lee Selby.
Moving onto Shane McGuigan, Frampton’s long term trainer who has a mammoth couple of months coming up with Frampton v Santa Cruz, also he will be looking to help St George groves secure his world title against Fedor Chudinov for the vacant WBA Super Middleweight title and then you will see the monster himself David Haye take on Tony Bellew in their highly anticipated grudge much.
If McGuigan’s gym can come through these tests it will set his stable of fighters up for a massive 2017 which in my eye will see a very unknown and underrated trainer claim various trainer of the year awards next year.
The first world champion ever from Montenegro, Zlaticanin will be putting his belt on the line for the first time since earning a third-round stoppage of Franklin Mamani in June to pick up the vacant title. The 32-year-old put himself in position to fight for the title in the U.S. A hard-hitting southpaw, Zlaticanin also has victories over Ricky Burns and Petr Petrov.
A popular fighter on both coasts, California’s Mikey Garcia returned from a two and half-year layoff in July to dominate former champion Elio Rojas on his way to a fifth-round stoppage in Brooklyn as the co-main event of the first Santa Cruz vs. Frampton fight. The 28-year-old is ready to resume his promising career that already saw him pick up world titles at 126 and 130 pounds. This will be a fight not to miss.
Article Written & Edited by – Jake Taylor-Kreft