Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton make weight for Saturday’s showdown

Leo Santa Cruz, left, and Carl Frampton pose after weighing in Friday for their featherweight title fight Saturday in Brooklyn/Photo courtesy of Amanda Westcott, Showtime

 

Champion Leo Santa Cruz and challenger Carl Frampton on Friday both made weight for their featherweight title fight Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

Santa Cruz, of Lincoln Heights, weighed 125 1/2 pounds. Frampton, of Northern Ireland, weighed 125 1/4. The featherweight limit is 126.

Santa Cruz, 27, is 32-0-1 with 18 knockouts. He’ll be looking to make the second successful defense of his belt. Frampton, 29, is 22-0 with 14 knockouts. The former super bantamweight champion is moving up in weight for this bout.

 

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Mikey Garcia brimming with confidence ahead of first fight in 2 1/2 years

Mikey Garcia speaks at Thursday’s final news conference/Photo by Ed Diller, Dibella Entertainment

 

Some fighters might be a bit worried about having a fight for the first time in 2 1/2 years. Not Mikey Garcia. He’s brimming with as much confidence as ever.

“I have better skills than any fighter put in front of me,” said Garcia, who Saturday will take on Elio Rojas in a junior welterweight bout at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime). “This will be the beginning of the next stage of my career, the most memorable part of my career.

Garcia, who was speaking at Thursday’s final news conference, has not fought since January 2014, when he defended his super featherweight title with a wide decision over Juan Carlos Burgos at Madison Square Garden.

Garcia (34-0, 28 KOs) then got into a contract hassle with his then-promoter, Bob Arum, and has not fought since. Garcia, who has won titles at featherweight and super featherweight, is now a free agent.

Rojas (24-2, 14 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, is expecting to beat Garcia.

“In this fight, I know I’m being brought in as an opponent,” said Rojas, a former featherweight champion. “But I’m going to let the fans know that I’m not just an opponent.

“I know who Mikey Garcia is. I have all the abilities to win on July 30. I’ve always been a boxer who was never protected. I always prepare to win the fight and this will be no exception.”

Rojas has had a layoff of 23 months.

Garcia-Rojas will fight underneath the featherweight world-title fight between champion Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights and Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland.

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Carl Frampton confident he can leave ring with Leo Santa Cruz’s title

Carl Frampton/Photo by Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment

 

Carl Frampton will have his hands full Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn when he challenges Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) of Lincoln Heights for his featherweight world title (on Showtime). But the former super bantamweight champion from Northern Ireland who is moving  up in weight has no doubt he can emerge with Santa Cruz’s belt.

“Leo is a great fighter,” Frampton said. “He’s world class. Easily the toughest opponent that I’ve faced so far. But I think I’m Leo’s best opponent as well. I think this has all the ingredients to be a top quality fight. I’ve had a hard training camp and I’m ready to leave everything in the ring.
“I’ve got a game plan. I’m not going to blink. We’re hoping that game-plan ‘A’ will work. But if not, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.”
The way Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) sees it, he has nothing to lose in this one.
“All the pressure is on Santa Cruz,” he said. “Everyone is expecting him to win. I’m going to come in there and upset him. I’m here to put on a great performance and bring the belt back home.”

 

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Carl Frampton wants to ‘win it back’ for manager Barry McGuigan, who once held title Leo Santa Cruz now holds

Carl Frampton/Photo courtesy of Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment

 

Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland has accomplished quite a bit in his career. He is 22-0 with 14 knockouts and has won a world title in the super bantamweight division.

Frampton on Saturday will try to add another belt to his collection when he challenges Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights for his featherweight world title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

 

Winning a title in a second weight class provides Frampton with plenty of incentive. But there is another driving force. It has to do with Frampton’s manager, former featherweight champion Barry McGuigan of Ireland.

“Obviously, I have enough motivation on my own, but it would be nice to bring back the title that Barry once owned,” Frampton said. “It feels a bit like destiny for me. It’s my turn to win it back for him. I’m doing this for my whole team. I’m doing this for my family and I’m doing this for my entire country.”

McGuigan once held the WBA featherweight title, the same one Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) currently holds.

 

 

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Leo Santa Cruz seems to have nothing but respect for Carl Frampton

Leo Santa Cruz/Photo by Amanda Westcott, Showtime

 

Leo Santa Cruz didn’t get to where he is today by taking victories for granted. Therefore, even though Carl Frampton is moving up in weight to challenge Santa Cruz for his featherweight world title Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime), Santa Cruz will stick to his credo of regarding every opponent as an equal.

“People think Frampton is the underdog because he’s moving up in weight,” Santa Cruz said Wednesday at a workout in New York City. “But I (previously) moved up in weight, too. I never take an opponent lightly. I’m going to come really hungry. I respect every fighter and I train for my opponent to be at his best.”

Santa Cruz intimated Frampton – a former super bantamweight champion from Northern Ireland – is as real as a fighter gets.

“I have a lot of respect for Frampton,” said Santa Cruz, of the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles. “He has everything you need to be a great fighter. Excellent footwork, great power and good punches. Once he’s in the ring with me, I’m fighting for my future.”

Santa Cruz is 32-0-1 with 18 knockouts. He has won titles in the bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions.

Frampton is 22-0 with 14 knockouts.

 

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Leo Santa Cruz stoked that his ailing father made trip to New York City

Leo Santa Cruz, left, and Carl Frampton pose here on the observation deck of the Empire State building in Manhattan. They will fight Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn/Photo courtesy of Amanda Westcott, Showtime

 

Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights was in a good mood Tuesday. One reason was because he and Carl Frampton were able to spend some time on the observation deck of the Empire State building in Manhattan. The biggest reason was because Santa Cruz’s ailing father – Jose Santa Cruz – will be in his corner Saturday when Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) defends his featherweight belt against Northern Ireland’s Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

The elder Santa Cruz helps train his son along with his other son, lead trainer Antonio Santa Cruz. Jose Santa Cruz has been battling spinal cancer and although he has been improving, there was still a question as to whether he was going to be able to make the cross-country trip to New York City.

“I am so happy my father is here with us,” Leo Santa Cruz said. “We thought he might not be able to make it, but thank God he is here with us. Not having my dad here in New York with me would have been hard. It actually brought tears to my eyes.
“But I am very happy that he is here and will be in my corner for my fight.”

 

 

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Elio Rojas will be eager to show he still has ‘elite’ ability when he fights Mikey Garcia underneath Santa Cruz-Frampton

Elio Rojas/Photo courtesy of BoxRec.com

 

Elio Rojas of the Dominican Republic is a former featherweight world champion. But he doesn’t believe he was ever afforded the proper appreciation for that, so that’s one reason why he decided to accept a fight with former two-division world champion Mikey Garcia.

The two will tangle Saturday underneath the featherweight title fight between champion Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights and Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime).

“I’m taking this fight because I mean to show the world I’m an elite fighter, and the only way to show it is to beat the elite fighter, which is Garcia,” Rojas said. “That’s why I need to show the world that I’m able to be on top with the big names. I deserve this opportunity because the public never gave me the respect that I deserved.”
Garcia (34-0, 28 KOs), of Oxnard, is a former featherweight and super featherweight champion. He has not fought for 2 1/2 years because of a contract dispute with his now-former promoter, Bob Arum.
Rojas (24-2, 14 KOs) has had a long layoff, as well. He lost his title to Jhonny Gonzalez via decision in April 2012, took more than two years off, came back and won an eight-round decision over journeyman Robert Osiobe of Nigeria in August 2014 and has not fought since.
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Heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller talking a lot of smack about champions

Jarrell Miller

Jarrell Miller/Photo courtesy of Salita Promotions

 

It appears heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller is trying to take the Floyd Mayweather Jr. path to stardom. Miller talks a lot of trash, and he’s been bashing the heavyweight champions of late.

For example, he said he wants to break Deontay Wilder and “his toothpick legs” in half. Miller refers to Anthony Joshua as “definitely one of the weakest of the heavyweight champs.”

But he does seem to at least have some respect for Tyson Fury, who holds two of the belts.

“I like Tyson Fury,” said Miller, a top 10 contender who Aug. 19 will take on Fred Kassi at Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. (on Showtime). “I still want to break his fingers in half, but he is good for the sport of boxing and I feel like me and him for a main event will sell any arena out. He talks a lot of smack and he does back it up, but he is still a jokester and I am real. I will smash him if he tries to step on me in the press conference. I will knock him out, same way I will for everyone else.”

Miller then said something about a potential fight with Fury that was kind of out there.

“A fight between us two will be like Comedy Central on steroids, it would be bananas,” Miller said. “It would sell out kind of like a Mayweather-(Manny) Pacquiao. … I feel like we can capture the heavyweight division and put it back on the map, just because of the way he talks.

“As an American heavyweight, I feel like we have to take over American soil first. I’ll fight anywhere and any time. But on the business side, I have to take over my country first.”

Miller, of Brooklyn, is 17-0-1 with 15 knockouts. Kassi, of New Orleans, is 18-5-1 with 10 knockouts.

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Jarrell Miller wants to break Deontay Wilder and ‘his toothpick legs’ in half

Jarrell Miller

Jarrell Miller/Photo courtesy of Salita Promotions

 

They say confidence breeds success. From the tone of his comments during a workout Tuesday from New York City, heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller is very confident. Whether that turns into success at the highest level remains to be seen.

Miller (17-0-1, 15 KOs) – ranked as high as No. 8 by one organization – on Aug. 19 will take on journeyman Fred Kassi  (18-5-1, 10 KOs)  of New Orleans in the 10-round main event from Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. (on Showtime). But Miller has bigger fish to fry, and he’s hopeful Deontay Wilder is in that mix down the road.

Wilder holds one of the championship belts, and he’s coming off a thorough thrashing of Chris Arreola, who did not answer the bell for the ninth round of their fight this past Saturday at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala.

Miller used Tuesday’s workout to call out Wilder, who is now 37-0 with 36 knockouts.

“Wilder is a wild man when he gets in that ring, but at the same time if you watch how he performs, he performs at a mediocre level against mediocre fighters,” MIller said. “If you stick him to a world professional athlete, like myself or top guys, you’ll see him bring even more. Not saying he hasn’t been in the ring with A-plus fighters yet, but you can see all his loopholes in his fighting style. It’s just a matter of time before he gets really exposed and I hope it is with me because I want that behind.”

MIller, who is 6-foot-4, suggested the 6-7 Wilder does not use his height to his advantage.

“Shorter fighters do what they do, taller fighters do what they do,” Miller said. “Deontay is tall, but he doesn’t do what his body is designed to do; he’s trying to do something that smaller guys do, so that is going to be his downfall. Like I said, it is just a matter of time and I am going to break him in half, him and his toothpick legs.”

Miller, 28, is from Brooklyn.

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Hard-hitting Jerry Odom will step in to face Julius Jackson on Showtime card

Jerry Odom/Photo courtesy of GH3 Promotions

 

It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

Jerry Odom is coming off a draw with Ronald Ellis in a super middleweight bout in February in Atlantic City. Ellis was supposed to next fight Julius Jackson on July 22 from Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Ellis on Thursday sustained a hand injury that will prevent him from fighting, and now Odom will be tangling with Jackson (on Showtime).

“I have been training for a few fights that fell through,” said Odom, of Bowie, Md. “I’m in shape and ready to go. When my team got the call, we decided it was the right decision to take this opportunity.”

Odom has one real nice thing going for him – he can punch. He is 13-2-1 with 12 knockouts.

“My power will be a big factor,” Odom said. “Jackson has faced punchers before, but he hasn’t faced one like me. This is a great opportunity, and I will put on a show next Friday.”

Jackson (19-1, 15 KOs) is the son of former two-division world champion Julian Jackson. They are out of the Virgin Islands.

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