It was that type of fight that went back and forth but in the end Carl Frampton, the kid from Belfast Northern Ireland came to Brooklyn Saturday night and did what he had to do and defeat Leo Santa Cruz this taking his WBA Super Featherweight championship.
There judges at ringside at the Barclays Center scored it differently with one even at 114-114, the other two scores at 116-112 and 117-111. The disparity in the scores did not take away from a fight that had some drama, though both fighters failed to score knockdowns.
The power of Frampton showed in round two when a left hook staggered Santa Cruz, 32-1-1, 18 K0’s who sustained his first loss.
Frampton, 23-0, 14 KO’s is an undefeated champion who showed his underrated power and solid punching, He kept control of the early rounds and let allowed Santa Cruz to get back into the fight midway. But all along, as they went at times toe-to-toe, Frampton seemed to have the fight in hand as it went to the final rounds.
Said Frampton about the win, and now with a chance to fight WBC champion Gary Russell, “Distance control and hitting hard. I won the fight because I didn’t lose control. I earned the respect early in the fight with my distance control and hard punching.”
The fight was seen as a possible candidate for Fight of the Year. Santa Cruz believed he won the fight or deserved a draw, and Frampton said he would grant that whether it be back in the United States or his home country of Belfast Northern Ireland.
Santa Cruz, a former bantamweight and junior featherweight champion said, “It was a tough fight from the beginning. We knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I thought it was close when I’m in there throwing. Maybe the judges were hearing the crowd and thought that every little punch was scoring.”
Garcia returns with successful stoppage over Rojas: Mikey Garcia and Elio Rojas two years ago were on their way to bigger things in the ring and then respective promotional and managerial disputes put them on hiatus. They met in the ring Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a super lightweight bout and it was Garcia who was dominant.
Rojas, 24-3, 14 K0’s, of San Francisco de Macoris Dominican Republic went down twice in round three from huge rights thrown by Garcia. He would also go down twice again right in round round five, though quickly got back up after the first one.
From there, it was all about Garcia a former two division world champion from Oxnard California who left no doubts about his comeback and quest to become champion again at 135. A final knockdown in the fifth was enough to prompt ref Eddie Claudio to stop the bout at 2:02 of the fifth round.
Garcia, who scored four knockdowns in the fight said he missed being around the sport and in the ring. “ I think it was a very good performance. Even though I’ve been out for two-and-a half years people haven’t forgotten about me. The time off helped me regain that fire.”
He added about his return and how he performed after a long layoff, “I think it’s too soon to make an assessment but I do feel just as good.”
Undercard Results from Barclays Center: A scheduled six round featherweight bout opened the card and ended quickly as Josh Crespo, New Haven Connecticut was quickly stopped via TKO at 2:31 of round one. Jose Gomez , 8-0, 3 KO’s delivered punches that Crespo could not stop. After going down, Crespo got up and the bout was stopped,
“Just was not my night,” said Crespo who took the fight on a one week notice.
A welterweight nostalgia fight of sports saw two veteran champions of Brooklyn, two-time champion Paulie Malignaggi , (36-7-8 KO’s) scored a 10-round unanimous decision win over Gabriel Bracero (24-3-5K0’s). There were no interesting punches thrown as Malignaggi dominated all three scorecards, 99-89, 98-90, and 98-90.
After his fight, Malignaggi took a shower, put on the suit and went to ringside to complete his night as one of the analyst of the Showtime Broadcast boxing team.