Undefeated featherweight world champion Carl Frampton hosted media at his training camp in Las Vegas Tuesday ahead of his highly anticipated rematch with former three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz on Saturday, January 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena and live on SHOWTIME.
Televised coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT with undefeated lightweight world champion Dejan Zlaticanin battling former two-division world champion Mikey Garcia. Frampton was joined by undefeated prospect Josh Taylor; who’s 10-round super lightweight contest is set to be featured as part of bonus coverage on SHOWTIME EXTREME at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
“This camp has been even better than the last one. I had a few problems with my hand during the last training camp but this camp has been brilliant. I’ve been able to put a lot of effort into every session.
“I’m hungry to prove that this wasn’t a fluke. I see some people talking on the internet that I got lucky last time or that Leo would have won with his father in camp the whole time. But I believe there is a lot more to come for me. I’ve been performing better this camp than ever before. I think I win this fight more convincingly.
“I think Leo is a confidence fighter. I think his pride has made him go straight back to the deep end again. He’s always been bigger than his opponents. At both bantamweight and super bantamweight he was bigger. Even though Leo is taller than me, I’m the bigger man. On fight night I’ll be heavier and stronger than him. He’s been able to bully opponents and wear them out, but he can’t do that to me. I think he’s making a big mistake jumping right back in.
“I got drawn in to Leo’s type of fight last time, which made it very exciting. Because of our styles, it’s always going to be a good fight. If it’s two wins to nil for me, I’d rather move on and fight someone like Lee Selby. I just want to be involved in big fights.
“Obviously, being from where I’m from, fighting in New York was a major appeal, and a lot of guys on the East Coast are attracted to an Irish fighter they haven’t seen before. So I got a lot of new support from the East Coast. We brought a lot of people across with us, as well. But now, to be fighting, topping the bill at the MGM in the fight capital of the world, it’s something I never really thought about when I was a kid or when I turned professional. I never really believed I could get to this. But it’s here, and I’m hoping that it can continue for a long time.
“We’re staying at Robert Guerrero’s training camp house, which is a big thing for me in itself. We drove past the MGM Grand and saw my face on the side. That was pretty surreal in itself. I just can’t wait to soak it up.
“This was a big fight enough in New York, now I think it’s going to be like New York on steroids. I can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere on fight week, can’t wait for all of my fans to get here, I think it’s going to be a real carnival atmosphere and people are going to enjoy it.”
“Fighting Leo Santa Cruz in the United States, a 3-weight world champion who a lot of people thought was going to beat me and beat me comfortably, that was a big deal. That was the real turning point of my career. And I think there’s more to come. I’m 30 in February, but I don’t feel any signs of slowing up.
“I genuinely feel like I’m getting better and I think Leo’s going to be in for a tough night here. If I can do what I’ve been doing here in the gym, perform like I’ve been performing in sparring, I’m hurting sparring partners, knocking sparring partners out. I feel like I’m developing, developing into a proper featherweight and I feel like he’s going to be in for a tough night.
“We’ve got a chef in the house that we’re staying at, cooking and preparing our food. We’re training at Shawn Porter’s gym here. It’s a great facility and they’re looking after us, Shawn and (Kenny) Porter. It’s nothing really to deal with apart from the time difference. I reckon it takes a day for every hour of time difference.”
“This is the first time I’ve been in Las Vegas and I’m definitely a little star struck by the strip and the big buildings. I’m really have a great time though and it’s a good experience.
“This is a great setup we have here at the gym and I’m getting a lot of good work here. I’ve been sparring with former world champion Shawn Porter and Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas. I couldn’t ask for better work.
“I feel very confident. I’m getting great preparation. It’s not every day you get to spar with guys like this, especially with only seven fights under my belt. I’m feeling really good.”
SHANE MCGUIGAN, Frampton and Taylor’s Trainer
“Training camp has been going really great. Santa Cruz feels like he didn’t have his best performance last time but I don’t think Carl was at his best either. I think we’ll see the same victory this time.
“Carl’s confidence is through the roof. He never lacks in that department. He always rises to the occasion. He performs his best when he’s out there in front of a huge crowd. Leo Santa Cruz is going to bring out the best of Carl Frampton.
“Fighting in Las Vegas is amazing. This is what Carl has been dreaming about since he was a kid. I’ve been dreaming about it too. My father was an amazing fighter but this is a new era of massive crowds coming across the globe. It all starts on January 28 and it’s going to be a great time.”
BARRY MCGUIGAN, Frampton’s Manager, Former World Champion and Hall of Famer
“It was definitely Carl’s toughest fight but I think Carl is still getting better. I think Carl will win even more convincingly this time, but it’s going to be a great fight every time they meet because of the clash of styles.
“Carl has knocked out at least two of his sparring partners in preparation for this. He’s looking very strong and he’s working very hard.
“Santa Cruz is talking about using his range, but I think that’s all smokescreens. Once that bell rings he’s going to come straight at Carl and we’ll be in for another great fight.
“We had the option to squeeze in a mandatory defense before the end of last year. But we thought it was best to rest and get this big fight in by the end of January.”