Carl Frampton: I’m ready to become a big star in New York because Santa Cruz won't know what's hit him
Belfast boxer is armed and dangerous
Sitting in my hotel room here in New York I’ve obviously had time to stop and think about just what this Saturday night means and it gives me goosebumps.
Top of the bill in New York at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn fighting to become Northern Ireland’s first two-weight world champion, a chance to join a select band of fighters throughout boxing history who’ve won world titles at different weights and I’m fighting another unbeaten fighter in Leo Santa Cruz who’s already won at three weights.
To think I could be arriving back in Belfast with my family with the WBA World featherweight belt just as my manager Barry McGuigan did 31 years ago is just amazing.
It’s going to be tough, really tough because I’m facing one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world and when you look at the fight it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to facing someone like Barry.
Barry was always on the front foot, bringing an amazing amount of pressure and Santa Cruz is the same — he comes forward looking to dominate with his aggression, throwing lots of punches.
The dimensions are different, Santa Cruz is taller though Barry had a very long reach and Barry was a harder puncher but the pressure is similar. Now I have the chance to win back the belt that Barry lost 30 years ago which would be very nice — hopefully I’ll actually gets my hands on the belt because I’m still waiting for the WBA to give me the belt I won after beating Scott Quigg.
The influence of Barry on my career cannot be overstated, he has been there every step of the way fighting my corner — not backing down when others were wanting to dictate how my career would go and he always believed that one day I would be at this point of my career, in a super-fight.
This is about creating a legacy, to make history and leave people with some great memories. When I hang up my gloves I want people to remember me and if that can also mean that I inspire some other kids to take up boxing and follow their dreams then that would great.
To beat Santa Cruz it’s going to take the best performance of my career and it will be. The move in weight has been perfect for me, I have more energy at this point before a fight than I’ve ever had before.
I know those who maybe don’t have a deep knowledge of boxing would think that four pounds wouldn’t make that much of a difference but believe me it does. I’m a more dangerous fighter now than I’ve ever been. To be honest I think I had outgrown the super-bantamweight division about 18 months ago but I was world champion and I kept making the weight and got the job done. I was beating world class fighters at 80 per cent but now I’m at 100 per cent and I’m punching harder than ever and keeping up an even higher workrate.
The extra four pounds means that I am that little bit more comfortable in training and I’ve been absolutely flying in sparring. Anybody who watched my recent sparring over here would have been very impressed.
I had the big 14 ounce gloves on and let’s just say the two guys were certainly feeling my power. It’s the best camp I’ve had and the Spanish guy we’ve had is the first sparring partner I’ve had who is almost a clone of the fighter I’m going to face. He’s tall, throws plenty of punches just like Santa Cruz but he’s stronger than Leo and if I can handle him then I know I’ll be ready for Saturday night.
Santa Cruz is a proud warrior and he’s already talking about unifying the featherweight titles in fights with Gary Russell jnr and Lee Selby so he is super confident and is seen as the slight favourite. That’s fine by me and I’m sure he will come to fight the way he always does — that’s what I want and when he’s throwing all those shots he’s going to give me opportunities to exploit.
I know I’m going to get hit a lot, that’s the nature of a fight like this. This isn’t going to be like the fight with Scott Quigg which I always said I could make easy for myself because of my boxing skill and of course Quigg failed to back up all his talk by coming out and being so negative for the first six rounds.
This is going to be a fight that will live up to all expectations. It’s my chance to put Northern Ireland on the map and to be seen as one of the top 10 pound for pound fighters in the world — I can’t wait.