Why I Loved Frampton v. Santa Cruz



Why I Loved Frampton v. Santa Cruz

Customer satisfaction research in the hospitality industry shows that people are twice as likely to report a negative experience to friends and family as they are a positive one. Perhaps this can be applied to boxing followers at times because as much as we all love the sport it can be frustrating waiting for fights to get made and then disappointing when certain bouts fail to live up to expectations.

When an event or big fight flops there are plenty of critics ready to put the boot in and make derogatory remarks about our sport.

Thankfully the Carl Frampton – Leo Santa Cruz fight that took place on Saturday at Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, New York will never fall into this category. This fight lived up to and surpassed expectations.

Coming into Saturday's matchup Leo Santa Cruz was 32-0-1 (18Kos) and defending his WBA Featherweight belt.

Carl Frampton, 22-0-0 (14Kos) was fighting at 126lbs for the first time having vacated his WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight titles. Santa Cruz's status as a three weight World Champion and significant reach advantage saw him favoured by most boxing media.

Frampton also had his backers – pundits and fans who thought his style would be problematic for the champion. The stage was set and both men delivered.

In my opinion the fight was the best boxing match of 2016 so far.

The action was non stop and the 12 rounds flew by. I don't want to ruin the outcome on the off chance someone reading this doesn't know the result but I do want to outline why I enjoyed this bout and everything surrounding it so much.

First of all, the relationship between both boxers and their respective teams was polite and respectful all the way through the buildup, during, and after the fight. I prefer top class sportsmanship over childish nonsense and trash talking. Simply put, it makes the sport look better.

Secondly, the atmosphere in Barclays Centre was terrific. Frampton had a large contingent of fans who had travelled over to noisily support their man. The pockets of Santa Cruz fans backed Leo with passion. The noise generated by the crowd participation enhanced the TV viewing experience greatly.

It seems simplistic to write this here but it was just a great, great fight. Two world-class boxers giving it absolutely everything in the pursuit of their goal. The styles of the combatants blended perfectly, Santa Cruz fought in his usual style, on the attack and throwing plenty while Frampton, using excellent footwork, was patient and elusive in the pocket, looking for opportunities to land hard counter punches. The fight ebbed and flowed with both men at times getting lured into fighting in the style of their opponent. This made for wonderful viewing as there was enough technical boxing and toe to toe exchanges to suit most, if not all tastes.

The drama lasted right up until the result was announced by the always classy Jimmy Lennon Jr.

Looking at my Twitter feed after the conclusion it was clear that boxing fans and writers were scoring the fight differently.

I suspect the outcome of this fight will be debated in bars and places of work around the world for some time to come. This can only be good for the sport.

Hopefully discussion and differences of opinion about this fight in the coming weeks will lead curious fans of other sports to check it out on YouTube or catch a re-run on TV. As I mentioned at the beginning people are twice as likely to discuss something negative with friends and colleagues so wouldn't it be great if in this case, as boxing fans, we reverse that trend and tell as many people as we can to take a look at Frampton v Santa Cruz.

To be able to witness such an absorbing sporting contest unfolding before my eyes was truly an uplifting experience. Frampton and Santa Cruz deserve all the credit in the world for providing fans and the sport of boxing with a legendary night. When faced with negative people talking boxing down we as fans can counter punch by inviting them to watch and enjoy this Brooklyn classic.

As for what is next for both men I only have one request – immediate rematch please!

A boxing fan since his teenage years, Morrison began writing about the sport in July 2016. He appreciates all styles of boxing and has nothing but respect for those who get in the ring for our entertainment. Morrison is from Scotland and can be found on Twitter @Morrie1981.