Barry McGuigan has urged Leo Santa Cruz to take on Carl Frampton again
The Mexican-born fighter avenged his July defeat by the Northern Irishman to win back the WBA featherweight title on Saturday.
Frampton, who suffered his first defeat in his 24th fight, now wants to make their rivalry an epic trilogy at Windsor Park this summer.
And his manager and mentor McGuigan wants Santa Cruz to deliver on his promise that he would travel to Belfast if he won Saturday’s clash in Las Vegas.
He said: “I don’t want to hear any excuses. He said he would do it, so I want him to be decent.
“We were decent with him, honest. We said we lost marginally. Carl said that and I agree. We’ve done it twice over here, and it makes sense for Santa Cruz as well.
“They have given us their word. At the end of the day, if you’re not an honest man, contracts mean zero.
Leo Santa Cruz won back his WBA featherweight title
“If you are honest man, you don’t even need a contract. He’s told us he will come to Belfast. He’s told us he will fight him again and we’ve got to trust him.
“They have to be honourable. I don’t like that they say there are other great fights out there. We want the third fight. He did say there were other options and that concerns me slightly.”
Frampton is also keen to get the chance to avenge this defeat against the LA-based boxer and his team want to stage the fight at the home of Northern Ireland in June.
“I feel like I have come to the States twice now and Leo has said he would do it a third time in Belfast,” he said.
“I hope he’s a man of his word. He can come and stay in my house if he wants and we can get it on for a third time!
“After that, I would be happy to go to LA. Who knows? This could be three, four, five fights. They were great fights but let’s give the fans what they want.”
Santa Cruz has an advantage in any negotiations as he now has the title back and could go in search of a unification fight.
But he said after the fight: “Like I said, I’m a man of my word. A real champion, a true champion will go anywhere.”
Frampton had no excuses. There were no need for them either.
The better man won on the night and it was refreshing to hear a fighter accept it as so.
“I can’t really make excuses,” said Frampton. “I had an amazing training camp, I have an unbelievable coach, pushing me to the limit.
“I sparred well and had no injuries, made the weight fine. It was maybe a below par performance but the better man won on the night.
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“Leo is a tremendous fighter. He surprised me with his tactics, I honestly didn’t believe he could box like that. If I’m being honest, hand on heart, he deserved the win.”
McGuigan, Frampton lost the WBA title in Las Vegas against a man called Cruz.
But this was not a fight against Steve Cruz in the stifling heat of Caesars Palace car park in the summer of 1986, this was inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
And it was a venue that was rocking because of the 4,000 Frampton fans that landed in Sin City this week for the rerun of their first meeting.
The Mexicans in there created a racket too and it all combined to create a cracking atmosphere with the fight it deserved, if not the result the travelling support wanted.
Leo Santa Cruz could fight Carl Frampton again
Frampton and McGuigan admitted the Belfast man’s start made it difficult but this defeat was also down to the brilliance of Santa Cruz.
The three-weight world champion used his seven-inch reach advantage to great effect, something he failed to do in New York last July, as he boxed on the back foot and popped out perfect jabs.
But the Mexican’s little bursts in the final few seconds of most of the rounds will have helped the two judges that made it 115-113 to him come to that decision and ensure the judge that made it 114-114 was not important.
“A lot of rounds were close but he used his experience and he stole them at the end, bursts in the last 15, 10 seconds,” said Frampton.
“I was going back to my corner thinking 10 seconds before that it had been a decent round and Leo had just stole it. That’s experience for you. Hand on heart, I feel the decision was fair.”