Boxing

Carl Frampton, Santa Cruz, Casement Park... Everything is possible says Pat Magee as Anthony Cacace shoots into top 10 in WBA world rankings

Carl Frampton inflicted a first defeat on the unbeaten American, with all three judges marking it 100-88 in Las Vegas last weekend
Andy Watters

ANTHONY Cacace shot up to number nine in the WBA rankings after his British super-featherweight title triumph over Sam Bowen last Saturday night and his manager Pat Magee is now targeting a world title showdown with reigning WBA champion and two-time Carl Frampton opponent Leo Santa Cruz.

Of course, Cacace has work to do before he gets a shot at Santa Cruz who became a four-weight world champion when he beat Miguel Flores on November 23. He immediately called out Gervonta Davis and Gary Russell junior but he has been strategically managed throughout his career – he repeatedly dodged a third fight with Frampton - and his handlers could opt to put him in with someone they view as less risky opposition.

After Cacace’s technically-excellent win over Bowen in Birmingham on Saturday night, Magee – who guided Brian Magee to a world title - is confident that ‘the Apache’ is ready for the highest level.

“Anthony is number nine now with the WBA and that means that if he fights another top 10-rated fighter that would be an eliminator for the world title,” he said.

“It could possibly be a final eliminator and the new champion is Santa Cruz. I have to push on for Anthony and on Saturday night he proved he is world class – he’s big and strong and he takes a punch. He now deserves a chance, he’s a genuine-rated fighter and I want to push for that WBA title.”

Magee would admit himself that Cacace’s win on Saturday night has left him positively brimming with excitement for what the future holds for his fighter. He sees a unification fight with Frampton as a possibility if and when Cacace beats Santa Cruz.

“If you want to go into dreamland, Carl Frampton is pushing to fight for the WBO title and if he wins that he’ll be looking for a unification. Santa Cruz would be a target for him but it could be Cacace,” he said.

“That would be the dream fight and we wouldn’t have to worry about venues because it’s been proven by Falls Park and the Titanic that you can just build what you want. If we build it, they will come!”

Cacace-Frampton might seem implausible to some but things can change quickly in boxing. Cacace didn’t fight at all in 2018 and the word was he was finished with boxing. Now he is British champion. A couple of years ago Jamel Herring was fighting on backwater undercards. Now he is a world champion and looks certain to be travelling to Belfast for a spring blockbuster with Frampton.

“Anthony has shown what he can do now,” Magee continued.

“He has shown all that potential that people talked about. He is fresh, he has never been cut, he has never been down and he has proved that he can punch and he has a chin. He has all the attributes and he is hungry. It’s all there.

“If I can get the WBA to agree that I can pick someone above Anthony in an eliminator to fight Santa Cruz, I’ll pick the right man, don’t worry.

“If Anthony beats Santa Cruz it can be Frampton v Cacace. What a local derby that would be!

“I was talking to someone from the GAA recently and I said: ‘What about Casement Park?’ I told him there were some terrific fights out there and I said: ‘All we need is Casement Park and if you GAA guys sell the tickets we will deliver the fight and the TV, it’ll be bigger than the Feile.

“He said: ‘If you deliver the fight, we’ll deliver Casement Park and we’ll sell the tickets’. I shook his hand on that.

“It might be a dream at the minute but’s it’s something to think about.”

CARL Frampton could face Jamel Herring for the WBO super-featherweight title on what promises to be an unforgettable night at the SSE Arena in April or May next year.

As far back as August, Herring told The Irish News that he would be keen to face Belfast’s ‘Jackal’ saying: “I would love for that Belfast atmosphere to be there” and after Frampton’s shut-out points win over out-classed Tyler McCreary on Saturday night, the New Yorker said he would travel “wherever the fans demand it” to defend his belt.

Despite a reoccurrence of the broken hand that forced him out of his comeback fight in Philadelphia, Frampton cruised to a 10-round unanimous decision win against McCreary in Las Vegas. Next up is Herring who looked huge in comparison to the Belfast man when they stood together in the ring after the fight.

“One of the reasons I love Carl is that he’s the only one who actually wanted to fight me,” said the former US Marine.

“A lot of people who’ve been following my journey will know that I’ve been trying to get a unification match-up with other big names and Carl, even though he’d be coming up a weight class, still said: ‘Hey, if the Jamel Herring fight is available, let’s make it happen’. So if we can make it happen, let’s do it.

“I’ll come anywhere. I loved the atmosphere when I went to London for the 2012 Olympic Games and I always promised that I would go back for a major event. If this happens to be the major event then sign me up.

“Carl has a hand injury so give him that respect, let him heal up and spend time with his family and we’ll allow our teams to work out all the paperwork.

“It’ll be a treat, it’s two top guys in their class competing against each other. If I’m a real world champion I will travel the world and fight the best out there. I don’t want to be a champion who hangs on to the belt and fights nobodies.”

ANDY Ruiz Jr has warned Anthony Joshua that he could end their rematch even quicker than he did when he ripped the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts from the much-hyped Englishman on that unforgettable night at Madison Square Garden back in June.

Ruiz and ‘AJ’ collide for a second time in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night in one of the most highly-anticipated Heavyweight rematches in decades, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.

The Mexican-American predicts a more cautious approach from Joshua on Saturday night. IN the first meeting he had to get off the canvas himself before he battered the Rob McCracken trained former Olympic champion into submission before the end of the seventh (CHECK)

"I'm expecting that," he said.

“But if he wants to bang, it's better for me. I love to bang because that's the fighter that I am. We have to pressure, work the body, break him down. Especially his mentality.

"We've got to see where he's at because all the pressure is on him. The pressure isn't on me because I followed my dream, made my dreams come true. Of course I want more though - I want the legacy of Andy Ruiz Jr."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Boxing