Carl Frampton returns to action on Saturday in Belfast against Luke Jackson, but he’s already thinking about bigger fights down the line.
Specifically, interim WBO featherweight titleholder Frampton (25-1, 14 KO) is hoping to next face full WBO titleholder Oscar Valdez or IBF titleholder Josh Warrington, reckoning that the fight with Warrington would be a bigger and easier fight to make.
But he’s got his eyes on something else, too: a third fight with Leo Santa Cruz.
“If I beat Jackson, then Warrington or Valdez, I will have a title and that puts me in a stronger position and ready to tackle Santa Cruz. That might make him want to come to the table, negotiate and talk about the fight again. That is the fight that appeals to me more than any other.”
Frampton beat Santa Cruz in their first fight back in July 2016, then dropped the January 2017 rematch, both majority decisions and very competitive fights. There was talk of a third bout, but Santa Cruz’s team didn’t want to go to the U.K. for the fight (the first two were in Brooklyn and Las Vegas), and negotiations never really went anywhere.
But it’s still a potentially intriguing fight, too, and there’d be plenty of interest in it. Clearly, Frampton wants to get the better of Santa Cruz and win the rivalry. No real clue how interested the Santa Cruz side is, but it’s a doable fight, one would think, no big politics blocking it or anything.