Carl Frampton defends his WBA (Super) Featherweight title for the first time against the man he won it from-Leo Santa Cruz on January 28th, 2017 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Immediate Rematch

After a scintillating first bout in July of 2016 where Frampton won by a close majority decision, two of the world’s best small weight fighters go at it one more time. Frampton dealt Santa Cruz his first defeat in 34 fights and the latter immediately asked for a rematch which the Jackal agreed upon just as quickly.

Known for his volume punching and fast hands, Leo Santa Cruz is looking to rebound from his first ever career loss. It will be interesting to see how he recovers, especially since he will be fighting the very man who beat him the last time out. Carl Frampto,n meanwhile, is still high over that victory which is without doubt the biggest win of his career. The Belfast native is looking to keep his momentum going as he is 3-0 on U.S. soil.

Reversal Of Roles

During the first encounter, the highly touted Santa Cruz was a -300 favorite to beat the +265 Frampton. This time around, the roles have been reversed. The Jackal is now the favorite, although not by much, to beat Santa Cruz once again. Oddsmakers have Frampton as a -145 favorite over Santa Cruz, who is currently pegged at +125.

Despite the close lines, it’s highly unlikely that this fight is ending much differently. Santa Cruz may have the flashy offensive numbers but with his volume punching comes his tendency to get hit more often. Against a patient and calculated opponent like Carl Frampton, that will be disastrous.

Quality over Quantity

During their first bout in July of 2016, Santa Cruz threw 1002 punches as compared to Frampton’s 668. However, he only out-connected the Jackal 255-242 in total punches landed. That’s a huge disparity of 36% against 25% in punch accuracy.

It wasn’t just that. Frampton also landed more of the telling blows during the fight, outscoring Santa Cruz 206-191 in total power punches landed. Those numbers show you that while Santa Cruz is indeed a high volume output puncher, he wasn’t as accurate against Frampton’s excellent defense. On the other hand, the smarter Frampton was able to land the more high quality punches as Santa Cruz was on the offense.

Given that the rematch is merely six months after their first encounter, Frampton will likely get the nod once again. No doubt, Leo Santa Cruz has a solid chin and the Jackal may not get a stoppage here. But given Santa Cruz’s quantity and the Jackal’s quality, Carl Frampton should come out as the winner, by a clearer unanimous decision.

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