After Saturday’s impressive victory over domestic rival Scott Quigg, talk quickly moved onto who the Belfast star would face next.
With both the IBF and the WBA both expecting him to fulfil their respective mandatory fights or relinquish the crown. Would the domestic rivals share a ring once again in a rematch? Or would Carl move up to the Featherweight division and challenge the WBA ruler Leo Santa Cruz in a lucrative showdown? The world truly seems to be ‘the jackal’s’ oyster. Within this article I will assess the likelihood of the many options open to Carl.
1. Rematch Scott Quigg
After a fight of this magnitude there is always the inevitable talk of a potential rematch with the loser wanting to avenge the result and extract the same feeling on their adversary. Before both men had entered the ring a rematch had been discussed however there were no stipulations in the contract laying down solid plans for round two. Instead it appeared to be a verbal agreement that a rematch would take place in Belfast in the summer on two requirements; that if the first fight was good enough to warrant the return and if the public demanded it.
On the matter of a rematch Carl said “I’m happy to have a rematch if the public wants it, to be honest there are other options, I’d rather move onto bigger and better things”. While manager Barry McGuigan commented “All respect to Scott Quigg it’s not an attractive fight for us”. Although it seems that Quigg’s team and promoter Eddie Hearn would be open to the rematch, team Frampton seem that will go another way for now meaning that a second instalment is unlikely at this point.
2. Leo Santa Cruz
This is possibly the most likely of all the options open to Carl Frampton, with both men on board with the influential Al Haymon. This is a point that Barry mentioned stating that both men being “on board with Al makes Leo Santa Cruz the obvious fight, we’d like to go to America again maybe the East Coast this time”. While McGuigan conceded that the fight would take some building on the other side of the pond in order. He spoke of having the first fight in Belfast with Windsor Park being touted as a venue. The hall of famer continued that both men could face off here where the fight would not need building before having the rematch in Madison Square Garden, after the fight has been built raising both men’s profiles and maximizing the potential revenue.
The fight could take place at either Super Bantamweight where Santa Cruz campaigned before moving up to Featherweight where he holds the WBC crown which he recently defended against Kiko Martinez, the man Carl has beaten twice. After which Santa Cruz called out the Belfast champion, so he seems eager on the contest. Frampton is open to a move up to Featherweight but said “I’m not going to Featherweight to fight a nobody or a ten rounder, it has to be a big fight or for a world title”.
When you take into consideration the money that both men could make from what would be a cracking fight as Santa Cruz will come forward and will be a real challenge for the excellent boxing ability of the ‘jackal’. In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s win the Belfast man confirmed that he had spoken to one of Al’s men on the phone and he told him ‘let’s go and make the Santa Cruz fight’.
This coincides with McGuigan stating ‘Santa Cruz moved up to avoid the top super-bantamweight’s, not being sarcastic’, could this be the beginning of the verbal sparring or team Frampton antagonizing Leo into a major showdown.
With Haymon allowing his fighter Charles Martin to come to the UK defend his title against Anthony Joshua, maybe we could see Santa Cruz at Windsor Park?
If not I believe that we will see Carl Frampton face Leo Santa Cruz in their next bouts. It is the one I would like to see most and to echo McGuigan’s words it would be a breath taking fight.
3. Guillermo Rigondeaux
The elephant in the room with regards the super-bantamweight division, the one so masterful that he has been labelled ‘boring’. The WBA have written to Frampton to tell him that he will have face their ‘champion in recess’ or relinquish their crown.
When asked if the fight appealed to him the IBF and WBA king said “It does appeal to me I’d be happy to beat him, I’ve always said that I’m the only Super Bantamweight that can beat him”. While the ‘Clones Cyclone’ was less enthusiastic on the matter, “I just don’t think it’s an attractive fight because he is negative and amazing on the back foot. What do we gain from fighting him?”
It’s hard to argue that if the fight is not financially viable and for the size of the task ahead if the reward is not of the same level why not take the big money fights? But since Carl wants to prove he is number one at the weight he would have to beat Rigo and he has openly admitted this and has willingly accepted this.
Rigo will face Jazza Dickens in the UK this month and this fight will serve to further build the profile of the pound for pound superstar to the ‘causal’ market. This would of course make it a more financially viable option. Although this is the fight that many fans would want to see between the division’s elite, I do not believe it will be next.
4. Shingo Wake
The mandatory to Frampton’s IBF crown that Carl must face within 90 days or have to relinquish his IBF crown that he has defended successfully twice. The Japanese southpaw has never fought out of his native Japan and currently holds a record of 20 wins with 12 knockouts, 4 loses and 2 draws.
There is a possibility that Wake could face the IBF king in either his native Belfast or in the US where he is building his profile, which would help a potential Santa Cruz fight rise to melting point. But it potentially could be a ‘homecoming’ fight for the Jackal in Windsor Park, Ravenhill or the Odyssey Arena where he is a major attraction and has recently been deemed an official tourist attraction due to the crowds he draws.
This in my opinion could be an option as if the Cyclone fighter were to continue to campaign at the weight he will want to hold onto his world titles. I believe that the IBF means more to him and he will be eager to keep his grasp on the title, making the fight a real possibility.
The Welshman is the current IBF titleholder in the Featherweight division and won his world title on Box Office. He too is advised by the enigma that is Al Haymon making it seem as if a deal would be relatively easy to reach.
Selby has been quoted to be eager to take on the Jackal in a stadium clash and since the Welshman recently fought in America he has profile on the other side of the pond. This would be appealing to Team Frampton as they seek to raise their profile in the US.
A potential sticking point in this contest would be Selby’s involvement with Matchroom who have a strangled relationship with Cyclone. It has also been touted that Eddie Hearn wants to match his fighter with another of his stable in Josh Warrington.
This of course would depend on Warrington overcoming Hisashi Amagasa next month, before facing his stablemate in a summer stadium showdown at the formers native Elland Road in Leeds.
Even though both men are advised by Haymon and have mentioned each other’s names I cannot see both fighting next but it’s not one I would rule out for the future.
6.Gary Russell Jr
The current WBC Featherweight champ could be an option for the Northern Irish man who is keen to become a multiple weight world champion. The exciting American holds a record of 26 wins and 1 loss, the only loss came against the amateur sensation Vasyl Lomachenko.
Team Frampton name dropped the Californian as a potential opponent; he is a ready made challenge for a return to the US but not a fight I see happening next.
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