Barry McGuigan lining up Leo Santa Cruz for Carl Frampton

Barry McGuigan is keen to see Carl Frampton take on California-based Mexican Leo Santa Cruz in a bid to avoid another ‘boring’ fight following last weekend’s win over Scott Quigg.
Barry McGuigan lining up Leo Santa Cruz for Carl Frampton

Frampton became the first Irish fighter to unify world titles when he added the WBA belt to his IBF super-bantamweight crown with a points win over long-time rival Quigg in Manchester last Saturday.

Belfast native Frampton controlled the first half of the fight in what threatened to be a timid affair until Bury’s Quigg launched a comeback in the later rounds.

McGuigan, Frampton’s manager and mentor, admitted that he did not expect the bout to live up to the hype generated by Sky TV and a five-year wait for the rivals to fight and he suggested a rematch is unlikely.

The Irish boxing legend claimed that Quigg’s team expected Frampton to fight in a more defensive fashion than he did due to the Belfast fighter suffering two knockdowns in his preceding bout against Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Jr.

“It was always going to be a boring fight - we knew Quigg planned to run and back off because they thought, after the Gonzalez fight, that Carl is not good coming forward,” said McGuigan.

“To be honest, it could have been boring if it hadn’t have been for the last four rounds when he held his feet. I was very pleased with it.”

Quigg suffered a broken jaw from a huge Frampton right-hand uppercut in the fourth round, with the Bury man claiming the injury upset his gameplan and led to the delay in his willingness to stand and trade punches.

“We knew we had to pick the punches in the first couple of rounds and then as the rounds went on, he’d get desperate and we’d put pressure on. And then it would become a good fight,” added McGuigan, who is eager to see his protege involved in a more exciting fight next time out.

Guillermo Rigondeaux is Frampton’s preferred opponent, but the talented Cuban is often accused of being defensively dull while McGuigan talked up the idea of a fight against the more adventurous Santa Cruz.

Rigondeaux, who knocked out Limerick’s Willie Casey in one round in Dublin five years ago, has a keep-busy bout against scouser ‘Jazza’ Dickens in Liverpool on Saturday week and has accused Frampton of avoiding a fight. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz stopped former Frampton foe Kiko Martinez in five rounds in California last weekend.

“He [Frampton] is the boss,” said McGuigan. “We’ll sit down at look at all the options, but with the greatest respect for Scott Quigg that [rematch] is not an attractive fight for us. We need to step up to the next level and I think Santa Cruz is a real possibility.

“I don’t think Rigondeaux is an attractive fight. He is negative and backs off… The money fight is Santa Cruz. It would be breath-taking,” added McGuigan, who believes New York’s Madison Square Garden is a likely venue for that match-up.

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