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Frampton v Santa Cruz: Very close call but champion retains crown, says Malignaggi

By David Kelly

Paulie Malignaggi has quickly established himself as one of the most popular boxing analysts, while also continuing his boxing career, and he is expecting Carl Frampton to once again rise to the occasion on his Las Vegas debut.

Malignaggi was at ringside for American broadcaster Showtime for the first fight in New York, having only an hour earlier boxed on the bill at the Barclays Centre.

Reflecting on the night Leo Santa Cruz lost his WBA featherweight title to Frampton, the former World champion believes the Belfast man is the favourite in their re-match.

"I had Frampton winning a close fight the first time, he had the sharper shots and he has the more complete style," said Malignaggi, who will be commentating on the re-match.

"I thought the first fight was excellent. Sometimes when you get two elite fighters the fight can be a let-down because they cancel each other out but these two just seem to have the styles that gel and I think it's going to be another great fight.

"What was interesting about the first fight was the energy that Carl brought to the ring. In the super-bantamweight unification fight with Scott Quigg in the later rounds he seemed to have low energy, obviously making super-bantamweight was taking something away from him. Those extra four pounds have made a difference.

"This time you would expect that Leo is in a better place mentally because his dad, who was sick the last time, is a lot healthier now."

But Malignaggi points to the extra tools that Frampton has in his locker as the deciding factor.

"Leo is a very good fighter but he is a little one dimensional, you know what you're going to get and he's very good at it, but Carl has that versatility and that is the difference," he said.

"So I would think Frampton will win but you know sometimes as fighters we are sharper on some nights compared to others but Frampton is now the favourite going into this one," he added.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th November 2009 - Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye - Barry Hearn in association with Brian Peters Promotions presents Sky Sports fight night at the Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magerafelt, Northern Ireland. Super-Bantamweight Contest - Carl Frampton v Ignac Kassai.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th November 2009 - Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye - Barry Hearn in association with Brian Peters Promotions presents Sky Sports fight night at the Meadowbank Sports Arena, Magerafelt, Northern Ireland. Super-Bantamweight Contest - Carl Frampton v Ignac Kassai.
Pacemaker Press 12/6/10 Carl Frampton on his way to victory against Ian Bailey at the King' Hall Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
©Russell Pritchard / Presseye 18th September 2010 Barry McGuigan Presents Boxing at The Ulster Hall. Carl Frampton v Yuriy Voronin in 8x3 Min Rounds ©Russell Pritchard / Presseye
Carl Frampton fights Yuri Voronin in Ulster Hall, Belfast ©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 18th September 2010 Mandatory Credit - Photo-William Cherry
Carl Frampton won the Celtic super-bantamweight title at the Ulster Hall on Friday night against Gavin Reid.
Official title fight for the vacant Commonwealth Super Bantamweight belt between Carl Frampton and Mark Quon at the Odyssey arena, Belfast. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.10/9/11 PACEMAKER BELFAST.
Carl Frampton celebrates successful defence of Commonwealth belt against Kris Hughes
Title delight: Carl Frampton proves his class as he clinches the inter-continental crown against Raul Hirales in May 2012
Boxing Odyssey: Carl Frampton's stoppage of Steve Molitor in Belfast has increased his profile
Last time: Carl Frampton and Kiko Martinez during their previous bout at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast in 2013
Carl in action against Jeremy Parodi in October 2013
Carl Frampton demolishes Hugo Cazares in two rounds back in April 2014
Packing a punch: Carl Frampton lands a blow against Kiko Martinez en route to clinching the IBF World super-bantamweight title at the Titanic slipway last September
Carl Frampton (right) against Chris Avalos in February 2015
First to the punch: Frampton lands a blow on Gonzalez jr during the World title fight in El Paso, Texas PRESSEYE
Carl Frampton fighting Scott Quigg. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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