Hopes for a third fight between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton — and in particular, hopes that the rubber match would take place in Belfast — have been shaken a bit thanks to Leo Santa Cruz admitting that his father/trainer Jose does not want him to go to Belfast, fearing a robbery decision.
"My dad is scared that if I go over there, and even if I beat Carl Frampton, the people and the judges are going to be an influence. No matter if I beat him, he thinks that even if I beat him I'll have the victory taken away from me.
"My dad says not to go over there, because going over there would be a really bad decision and, you know, he is right and everything. But if I go over there and I get the win and beat him, for all the fans to see that I win, that's all that matters. Hopefully they see that I win and they give me that."
Reading between the lines, you can see that the prospect doesn’t really frighten Santa Cruz, the fighter, but it’s not as if Jose is working without data or past results. Not necessarily Belfast in particular, but any fighter going on the road and fighting in front of someone’s home fans is taking a serious risk in a sport as questionable as boxing can be at times.
If the fight can’t happen in Belfast — that is, if Team Santa Cruz understandably won’t go there — then that doesn’t necessarily mean the fight won’t happen. They’ve fought in Brooklyn and Las Vegas thus far, and could meet again in one of those cities, or in the Los Angeles area, or whatever. Belfast is probably where the fight gets the most attention it can get, but it’s not the be-all, end-all of these negotiations. At least, hopefully it isn’t.