Santa Cruz scores majority decision to take Frampton’s title belt and set up a rubber match

LAS VEGAS — Leo Santa Cruz said all along, after losing his first fight to Carl Frampton, that all he needed was his dad back in his corner. Jose Santa Cruz had been diagnosed with cancer a few months earlier and was not in his corner in New York in July.

But Jose was back where his son needed him on Saturday night and, as his son predicted, it made all the difference. Santa Cruz fought a smart, gutty fight, and handed Frampton his first career loss with a majority decision victory in front of a raucous crowd of 10,085 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and a national TV audience on Showtime.

“He did exactly what we practiced in the gym. He boxed and he countered,” Jose Santa Cruz said. “This is better than anything I could have asked for. I’m so happy that I could be in his corner.”

Frampton won the first fight by majority decision in New York in July.

The win for Santa Cruz sets up a rubber match, and Frampton said he wanted the fight to be next, and in Belfast, Northern Ireland, his hometown, where he has not fought in two years.

“There has to be a trilogy,” Frampton said during his post-fight press conference.”Leo’s a tremendous fighter and he surprised me with his tactics.  If I can

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