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Frampton v Santa Cruz: I can be Leo's secret weapon, warns dad Jose

By David Kelly

Jose Santa Cruz is as fired up as his son Leo ahead of the blockbuster fight with Carl Frampton and has warned the Jackal's fans that they will be crying into their beer at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

There is an overwhelming sense of frustration that emanates from Jose as he speaks about how his son will take his revenge in Las Vegas.

His battle with cancer had kept him away from the gym for long periods as Leo prepared for the first clash with the Belfast man last July in Brooklyn's Barclays Centre. It would prove to be Leo's first loss and Jose is confident it will not be repeated.

"In this camp I have been with Leo all the time and that will be the difference for this fight," said Jose through an interpreter.

"In the first fight I wanted Leo to box but Leo had promised the fans he would give them a brawl, he was looking to put on a show so there was a conflict of how to fight Frampton.

"This time Leo is really going to beat him up. Leo wasn't himself in the last fight and that was down to the preparation, I wasn't able to work with him and show what was needed so I'm sure that you will see a different Leo in the ring this time."

Son Leo echoed the thoughts of his father when pondering how he can reclaim the WBA World title belt.

"I have to be smarter and if I have to use my distance and throw fewer punches and make them count then that's what I'll do," he said.

"In my heart I want to please the fans. I'm a Mexican fighter and Mexican fans love a fighter who goes forward and throws lots of punches, that's what makes them scream and shout.

"But, as my dad says, sometimes you have to not think about pleasing the fans but be smart and do what you have to do to win the fight.

"I thought I won the first fight but everyone has a different opinion. A lot of people told me they thought I had won by a point or two but I thought it was close, it could have gone either way. Usually when it's close it goes to the champion but I respect the decision and I take nothing away from Carl.

"Hopefully I can win this rematch and we can have the third fight and it would be like the great rivalry between Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales.

"It would be great in 10 to 15 years' time to be remembered as having a great rivalry just the way people remember other great rivalries in the sport."

For all the leather that will be thrown with their two distinctive styles, Leo acknowledges the similarities as men who have made their way in life through the toughest sport of all.

He added: "When I look at Carl I see myself. He has a daughter and a son, so do I… we do this for our families and when we go into the ring it's business and when we finish we are friends."

Belfast Telegraph


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