A loss is always difficult to swallow, especially when it becomes the lone blemish on an otherwise-perfect record. Former WBA Super World featherweight titleholder, Leo Santa Cruz, reflected this week on what he could have done differently in his fight against Carl Frampton. He also talked about a potential rematch with the undefeated champion from Belfast.
“I think I waited too much,” said Santa Cruz to Fox Sports. “I waited too long. I got maybe a little bit frustrated… I got confused, I think. I should have put pressure on him and stayed on top of him.”
In the face of all of this self-criticism, Santa Cruz still threw over one thousand punches in the fight, hardly the mark of a boxer that was lacking in the activity department. He just simply wasn’t effective enough with his attack to earn the victory.
Frampton, who moved up in weight and flew across the pond to challenge the Mexican-American, landed more total punches, more power punches, and was markedly more accurate across the board.
Santa Cruz felt like the fight was closer than how the judges saw it. “I thought it was a pretty even fight,” he said. “It could have gone either way. It was a pretty tough fight. A lot of fans told me I won that fight. That it was a tough fight but that I won by maybe a point. A lot of people say that Frampton won by a point. Me being the champion, a close fight, it should have gone to me. But you never now. I don’t do excuses. I want the rematch. I want the belt back.”
Leading up to the fight, a lot of talk centered on Santa Cruz’s ability to remain focused on his second defense of the featherweight title. His father and life-long trainer, Jose Santa Cruz, missed most of camp due to his chemotherapy schedule- he was diagnosed with bone cancer in April of this year. The treatment was effective enough to allow the elder Santa Cruz to return to his son’s corner on fight night but the weight of the prior months still seemed to hang over Leo’s shoulders as the fight approached.
Though he has never blamed his performance, and eventual loss, on the stresses of his personal life, Santa Cruz is eager to avenge his sole defeat.
“I want to go straight to Frampton,” he said. “We want the fight to be in December. I don’t want another fight before we get to (him). We’re going to push it in order to get the rematch and it can hopefully happen.”