Carl Frampton is a 41/20 outsider to beat Leo Santa Cruz when he steps up beyond 122lbs for the first time in five years in Brooklyn on Saturday night, despite believing he is hitting harder for making the switch to the 126lbs limit.
’Moving up to 126 pounds was definitely the right decision for me. I’m a big puncher but I lost power coming down to 122 pounds. I’m going to be punching harder and be at my very best,’ the Belfast native was quoted as telling World Boxing News.
Frampton’s belief that his hands are heavier for fighting at the new weight is part of the reason the 11/5 about his tussle with Santa Cruz ending without recourse to a tenth round is a fine bet.
‘The Jackal’ stopped five of his last eight opponents at super bantamweight, suggesting he has built upon an already respectable punching force.
Each and every one of those stoppages came before the round count had reached double figures.
Yet, his belief that he is stronger than ever, even if it is true may not be enough to see him consummate his desire to be the first Irishman to be a world champion at two different weights.
Santa Cruz is two inches taller and has a seven inches longer reach than his challenger, but his physical advantages are far from the only reason he is expected to be hard to resist.
His record at world-title level super bantam, before he had moved on to featherweight, suggested he was a more effective finisher at the 122 limit.
‘El Terremoto,’ or ‘The Earthquake’ to non-Spanish speakers ended six of his nine rivals for global titles in the former division inside the distance – Frampton stopped just one of his four adversaries in the similar company.
Unlike the Irish raider, Santa Cruz has also proven his power abides at 126 too, cleaning up his previous world title challenger, Kiko Martinez in five rounds.
His relentless come-forward style will either allow Frampton to pick him off with astute movement and powerful counter punching or wear down the Northern Irishman under the sheer volume of his blows.
Either way it’s unlikely this one will go the distance.