Fight night tips: The best bets as Frampton and Santa Cruz scrap in Las Vegas
The Northern Irishman's speed advantage should again earn him victory in this world title rematch...
Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz
In a rematch for the WBA featherweight world title, Frampton – who currently ranks 10th on the Ring Magazine pound-for-pound list – should again come away with the belt.
Santa Cruz, a former three-weight world champion himself, remains a tough opponent, and he did enough to earn a draw on one judge’s card in the first fight.
That majority decision proved, however, that Frampton is simply too fast for the Mexican.
He holds a clear advantage in both footwork and hand speed, and was never troubled by the taller man’s power.
Providing he sticks to his plan, avoids Santa Cruz’s big shots and gets inside his longer reach, he should justify his price as the favourite.
The Northern Irishman might not be capable of knocking Santa Cruz out – he has, after all, only finished one of his last five opponents inside the distance.
He can outbox him all night, though, and is good value at to win by decision.
Mikey Garcia v Dejan Zlaticanin
In the second of three world title fights on this card, one of these fighters will lose their undefeated record.
Zlaticanin, the current WBC lightweight champion, can list three-weight titlist Ricky Burns among his 22 beaten opponents to date, and the Montenegrin has the ability to knock anyone out at this weight.
But Garcia, with 29 stoppages in his 35-fight career – combines similar power with superior boxing skills, and is rightly the favourite here.
The American held titles at featherweight and junior lightweight before contractual issues forced him into a two-year absence, and he looked excellent in the first fight of his comeback – a five-round win over Elio Rojas.
He should be victorious here, and considering both of these fighters tend to swing away, it will likely be within the distance.
Zlaticanin is durable with an excellent chin, though, so a stoppage is unlikely until the later rounds. Garcia to win in rounds 10-12 is a good bet at .
Lee Selby v Jonathan Victor Barros
Selby – nicknamed ‘The Welsh Mayweather’ for his elusive style and hand speed – can set up a world title unification fight with Frampton with a win here.
And considering he is priced at , it would be a real shock if he failed to do so.
The IBF featherweight world-title holder hasn’t been beaten since his fifth professional bout ever in 2009 – a winning streak that currently stands at 19 fights.
His opponent, Barros, is another former world champion, but has never truly proved himself at the top level.
The 32-year-old has only fought outside of Argentina and Uruguay four times in his entire 46-bout career, losing three of those contests.
He was also knocked out by Mikey Garcia the last time he fought in America.
That was Barros’ only stoppage defeat, and his durability – coupled with Selby’s lack of knock-out power – means this fight should last all 12 rounds.
A Selby win on points is a sensible pick at .