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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.

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