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They're mad if they think I've come to New York to lose: Carl Frampton

By Steve Bunce

World title challenger Carl Frampton believes he is being hugely underestimated by WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz ahead of their New York battle in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Frampton, who vacated his IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles to move up and challenge the three-weight champion from Mexico, feels Santa Cruz is reading too much into the Belfast fighter's performance 12 months ago in El Paso when he outpointed Alejandro Gonzalez after being floored in the opening round.

"I have only got this fight because of the Gonzalez fight," Frampton said. "I have been chasing Santa Cruz since 2013, deals were talked about and then he moved up and then there was the Gonzalez fight - they think it is safe now, they have convinced themselves that I will have nothing at the new weight. They are mad.

"Moving up to 126 pounds was definitely the right decision for me. I'm a big puncher but I lost power coming down to 122 pounds. I'm going to be punching harder and be at my very best.

More: Frampton's underdog status belies his quality

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