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Frampton v Santa Cruz: Warrior Carl fights like the great Mexicans, says champ Garcia

By David Kelly

Mikey Garcia may be hoping that he and fellow Mexican Leo Santa Cruz enjoy a World title double success in Las Vegas tonight but he still admits to being a fan of Carl Frampton.

Two-weight world champion Garcia was one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world before suffering two years out of the ring as he battled to be released from his contract with the Top Rank promotional company. Having eased back with a win on the undercard of the first Frampton-Santa Cruz clash last summer, he now steps up to meet WBC World lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin.

Victory would see him emulate Santa Cruz by becoming a three-weight champion, while he would love to see his old friend reclaim the WBA World featherweight belt.

"I thought the first fight was great. I expected Santa Cruz to win but Frampton surprised me," said Garcia.

"Leo was the bigger guy but Frampton was smart and countered and then got out of the way," he added.

"The way he countered and stepped to the side meant he was scoring a lot of points. I became a fan of Carl after the first Santa Cruz fight," said Garcia, whose family have had four generations of fighters.

"I would like to see Leo win so then we get a third fight because I'm a boxing fan and those are the fights that people want to see - and also Leo and I go right back to our amateur days so we're very close.

"If things go the way they did the first time then obviously Frampton can win again, it's a 50-50 fight - it's that close.

"I have to say I like Frampton's style, he's almost like a Mexican. It's different from a lot of UK fighters and the way he fought Scott Quigg in their super-bantamweight unification fight, I thought that was great."

As for his own battle for a third title, Garcia is confident of once more climbing to the top of the world boxing.

"I plan to win my third title in my third weight division on Saturday, and I also plan on being the champion in the next weight division by the end of this year, which would make me a champion in four divisions," he said.

"All of that adds to your legacy and your status as a champion," he added.

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