CARL FRAMPTON is a betting underdog for the first time in his professional career ahead of his July 30 clash with WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz.
The unbeaten Belfast native is moving up from super-bantamweight, where he unified the WBA and IBF titles against Scott Quigg in February.
The 29-year-old has already made the trip to Brooklyn, New York to prepare for his clash with Santa Cruz at the Barclays Center and intends on earning decent winnings for those who back him at odds of around 6/5.
“The last time I was an underdog was the Irish championships, when I was an amateur,” he said.
“You could have got me at 11/2, I was a massive underdog. I dropped him pretty early on, so the last time I was an underdog, a lot of people who knew me made a lot of money. It’s going to be the same result this time.
“Moving up to 126lbs was definitely the right decision for me. I’m a big puncher but I lost power coming down to 122lbs. I’m going to be punching harder and be at my very best.”
Frampton is trained by Shane McGuigan and mentored by Shane’s father, former WBA featherweight champion Barry McGuigan.
Both have joined ‘The Jackal’ in the Big Apple and Carl is excited at the prospect of furthering his already impressive career with a win over Santa Cruz.
“I want to be in exciting fights. From here on in my career, I want to be great. Who better to face than Leo Santa Cruz?” he opined.
“This is a chance to put my name down in history and become a two-weight world champion from Ireland.
“This fight is huge for me because I really want to create a legacy. I know how people talk, and I think people will be talking about this for a very long time. I want people to remember me as a great fighter, that’s all.
“I’ve been listening to Barry McGuigan since I turned professional. I just wanted to soak all of it up like a sponge. He’s got so much knowledge and he’s been around for so many years. I just need to be around him and learn. Shane does an amazing job training me, and between the two of them, I feel like I’m benefitting every day.”
California-based Mexican Santa Cruz, a three-weight world champion, outpointed Abner Mares last year in a career-best win before stopping former Frampton victim Kiko Martinez inside five rounds in February.
This will also be Leo’s first professional fight in New York, but Frampton is convinced he will have more support on the night.
“It’s very nice to be here in Brooklyn, it’s a lovely borough and it’s so great to be here in New York. There are a lot of boxing fans in New York and I really think this is the number one city for boxing,” he said.
“We’re bringing a lot of lads from back home, and I also hope the Irish-Americans get to know my name, and everyone in Brooklyn as well. I expect about 1,500 traveling fans from Belfast. I think I’ll have more support than Santa Cruz.”