Boxing

Barry McGuigan: Leo Santa Cruz owes Carl Frampton a rematch in Belfast

 The disappointment is etched on Carl Frampton’s face after his points defeat to Leo Santa Cruz in their WBA featherweight title clash in Las Vegas on Saturday night Picture: PressEye 
Andy Watters in Las Vegas

BARRY McGuigan called on Leo Santa Cruz to honour his agreement to face Carl Frampton in a third, defining rumble at Windsor Park this summer.

Just as Frampton was the deserving winner in their first meeting in New York in July, Mexican Santa Cruz was the better man on Saturday night, taking the decision on two scorecards 115-113, the other judge declaring it a 114-114 draw.

Santa Cruz changed gears and took revenge in another competitive, engrossing duel.

After the loss – the first of Frampton’s career – McGuigan admitted that ‘the Jackal’ had been “sluggish” early on and, though he rallied to get back on terms after eight rounds, Santa Cruz regained the initiative to regain his WBA belt.

Frampton, who accepted defeat as graciously as he accepted his victory in New York wants to go straight to the third fight with ‘El Terremoto’ and McGuigan says it’s Santa Cruz’s turn to pack his bags.

“We’ve come twice to America,” he said.

“I spoke to Al [Haymon, US boxing mogul] and he says we’re going to have a third fight. Al is the big player but he [Santa Cruz] has to be honourable.

“I don’t like the fact that he said ‘oh, there’s a lot of great fights out there’. He said there were options and that kind of concerns me.

“I don’t want to hear any excuses. He [Santa Cruz] said he would do it and I want him to be decent, we were decent with him. We’ve come twice over here.

“They have given us their word and, at the end of the day, if you’re not an honest man contracts mean zero. If you’re an honest man you don’t even need a contract and he has told us he’ll come to Belfast, and he has told us he’ll fight Carl again so we have to trust that. You have to trust somebody.”

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