Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

I'll fight Carl Frampton in Belfast, says Santa Cruz

Confident traveller: Leo Santa Cruz has no fear of coming to Belfast to defend his super- bantamweight title against Carl Frampton

Barry McGuigan says he is ready to make World champion Leo Santa Cruz "an offer he can't refuse" in order to bring him to Belfast to defend his super-bantamweight crown against Carl Frampton.

Undefeated Frampton is the mandatory challenger to Santa Cruz on the back of the Jackal's final eliminator victory over Hugo Cazares at the Odyssey Arena 10 days ago and the champion has revealed he is prepared to come to Belfast this July to put his belt on the line.

"I will fight Frampton in Belfast. He is my number one choice and I want to defend my title in July. I will come to Belfast if I get the biggest purse of my career," revealed Santa Cruz.

The champion's comments come just as Cyclone Promotions boss McGuigan is about to crank up negotiations for the mouth-watering showdown with Golden Boy Promotions – who look after Santa Cruz.

McGuigan said: "If Santa Cruz is genuine about coming to Belfast, and I have no reason to doubt him, then I will make him an offer he can't refuse to come and fight Carl in Belfast.

"I would dearly love the fight to be in Belfast and I am pleased to hear that Santa Cruz is willing to come and if we can make that fight for July that would be perfect timing for us.

"So we will make the offer and we'll see what he says.

"We are having ongoing negotiations with Golden Boy about the fight and there is a lot of talking to be done because it is the biggest fight in the super-bantamweight division and everybody knows that."

Santa Cruz dismissed any suggestion that he would be unwilling to step into the Jackal's Den in front of an expected 20,000 at either Ravenhill or an outdoor set-up at the Balmoral Showgrounds.

"I am not worried about fighting in Belfast.

"Carl Frampton is a good fighter but I will punish him to the body, break him up and stop him," he said.

"The fight won't go the distance so I don't need to worry about the judges," added Santa Cruz.

"I have fought someone like Frampton before so I know how to beat him. I want to defend my title in July and then again in September or October.

"Another three title defences and then I want to move up to featherweight."

Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao took his revenge over Timothy Bradley when he pounded out a 12-rounds points victory to win the WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas.

Legend Pacquiao (35), who lost to Bradley in a controversial encounter in 2012, was the winner on all three judges' scorecards.

"I proved that my journey in boxing will continue," said Pacquiao.

Asked how much longer he will continue to box, Pacquiao said: "A couple more years. There's no problem for me.

"My job is to fight in the ring – any opponent.

"Bradley was much better than in the first fight we had. He hurt me on the chin.

"I didn't want to get careless. I picked up more steam in the second half when I made adjustments."

Bradley (30) said: "I tried, I really tried. I just lost to the best fighter in the world.

"Manny fought his heart out and the better man won," he added.

* Michael Conlan defeated Poland's Sylwester Kozlowski on a unanimous decision to take bantamweight gold at the Felixs Stamm Memorial multi-nations tournament in Poland.

"Michael had three tough fights to win the gold. He beat a Kazakh and a Russian and a Polish lad on his home patch," said Irish head coach Billy Walsh.

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