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Santa Cruz believes Frampton's vocal fans may have cost him his world title

“Maybe the judges were affected by it and maybe it influenced their decisions,” said the former champion ahead of Saturday’s rematch.

Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz Leo Santa Cruz lands a punch against Carl Frampton during their bout last July. Source: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

CARL FRAMPTON’S SUPPORTERS have garnered a reputation for their passion and devotion to the man from Belfast, and they may have played a significant role in helping him to earn the most important win of his career.

That’s according to Leo Santa Cruz, who is three days away from an opportunity to regain the WBA featherweight belt he lost to Frampton in Brooklyn back in July.

The large Irish community in New York joined forces with a substantial contingent of Frampton’s supporters who made the journey across the Atlantic to roar the 29-year-old onto a majority-decision victory last summer at at the Barclays Centre.

“When Frampton threw combinations, the crowd went wild and crazy,” Santa Cruz (32-1-1) said ahead of Saturday night’s rematch with Frampton (23-0).

“They didn’t react that way when I threw punches, so maybe the judges were affected by it and maybe it influenced their decisions. I did think the fight was much closer. [It] could have gone my way or have been a draw.”

Carl Frampton Carl Frampton at the MGM Grand Garden Arena ahead of Saturday night's rematch. Source: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

Frampton condemned Santa Cruz to the first defeat of his career, with two judges scoring the bout in the Tiger’s Bay boxer’s favour (117-111, 116-112) and one deeming it a draw (114-114).

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Santa Cruz will fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for the seventh time in his career this weekend. Plenty have travelled in support of Frampton again, but the Mexican doesn’t expect his opponent’s supporters to form the majority on this occasion.

Santa Cruz said: “I’m very motivated since I’ve fought so many times in Las Vegas. It’s like my second hometown. I feel like I’m going to have a lot of fan support. I know when I’m tired and hear them scream, it will give me the energy to go the distance.”

H/T: PBC

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Paul Dollery

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