Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz: Relaxed Carl is in ideal condition to seize his fairytale in New York
New York, New York — the city so good they named it twice. Carl Frampton is so good he’s on the verge of becoming a World champion at two different weights.
Legacy is a word he’s used in every interview since this fight was made. He wants to walk into a pub back home in 30 years’ time where people are talking about this weekend’s fight with Leo Santa Cruz. He wants to make his family, friends and fans proud. And he 100 per cent believes he will.
There’s nothing quite like an athlete with confidence. Talking to Frampton and Santa Cruz this week in the build-up, both are convinced they will win — but something has to give.
Frampton moving up to featherweight seems like a smart move at this stage of his career. He’s admitted struggling for the past year and a half to make 122lb and it showed, especially on fight week ahead of recent contests.
From the outside looking in, the difference of four pounds has been phenomenal. Cameraman John Vennard (not to be mistaken for New York’s Naked Cowboy due to his long golden locks) and I have been filming Frampton behind the scenes during his final preparations here.
He’s looked stronger, has more energy than normal, his face looks fuller, he’s sweating — meaning he’s hydrated — and he’s laughing and joking which was practically unheard of a day or two out from his last few fights.
Frampton has told me before that he believes boxing is 50 per cent mental. With that in mind he couldn’t be in a better place going into this fight.
He should have the crowd on his side too. He’s been welcomed by the locals, he’s even had a ‘Carl Frampton Appreciation Day’ and been invited to pitch for the New York Mets baseball team. Bus loads of Irish people dotted all over America are making the journey to Brooklyn. And of course there’s the Irish already in New York.
Then there’s the Barry factor. Barry McGuigan has been one of the biggest influences on Carl’s career. As his manager he’s helped open doors and guide him to great heights.
For Frampton to be fighting for the same WBA World featherweight title that the Clones Cyclone won and lost 30 years ago is yet another parallel between the two. Although sentiment isn’t what either of them are about, it would be special if Frampton were to get his hands on the belt.
Even Barry, normally full of nervous energy so close to a fight, is much more relaxed knowing that Frampton is in a good place.