Carl Frampton has urged Leo Santa Cruz to complete the trilogy with a final showdown in Belfast.
‘The Jackal’ called for a third decisive showdown after losing on points 114-114, 115-113, 115-113 to the Mexican who also claimed back his WBA Featherweight World title after 12 hard rounds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Santa Cruz admitted he would be happy to have a third fight but Frampton called for it to take place in his home city.
“I hope so, I hope he is a man of his word and we can do it in Belfast,” he said.
“I have come to the States twice. We could do it four, five, six times. I hope we do it again.
“I am deeply disappointed but let’s have a trilogy and have our names linked together forever and hopefully I can win 2-1.
“It was a good fight and Leo and I have had 24 rounds with each other and they have all been pretty competitive. It’s 1-1 now and if there is a positive I can that from this, there has to be a trilogy. It has to happen again.
“Leo is a tremendous fighter and he surprised my with his tactics tonight.
“I honestly did not believe he could box like that.
“He was on the back foot a lot and if I am being honest I think Leo deserved the win.
“I thought I was doing well in some rounds but Leo used his experience and stole the round by finishing strongly in the last 10 to 15 seconds of each round tp steal the round.
“I did not believe he could fight that way but he was very good fighting on the back foot, He fought well and he deserved the win.
“I will make no excuses. My camp went really well, I had no injuries, he was just better on the night.
“I would love a rematch and I would like to put the record straight.
“He fought well and I thought he won the fight,” added Frampton.
Frampton urged Santa Cruz to come to Belfast and finish off the trilogy.
“I hope he is a man of his word and he can come and stay in my house.if he wants and we can get it on for a third time and after that I would be happy to go to LA - but who knows.
“This could be three, four, five fights. Who knows? These were great fights so let us do it again. I am just bitterly disappointed.
“The fans have come in large numbers and I am gutted for them. I have the best support in the world and they proved that again tonight.
“I am just sorry for not getting the job done.”
Santa Cruz took minutes to call for an immediate rematch after losing his WBA ‘super’ title and unbeaten record in July.
The victor and Frampton were full of respect for each immediately after the rematch leveled the score at 1-1 and the Mexican-born three-weight world champion is ready to complete the trilogy.
“I am a man of my word,” he said.
“We are both great fighters, we deserve it and let’s go again. I thought I fought well tonight and deserved the victory.
“It was a hard fight and it is fantastic to get my hands back on my world title but it was tough.
“My game plan was good and it was good to have my father back in the corner again.
“It was another great fight and I am delighted to get my belt back, If it was up to me I would go to Belfast and have the rematch but it is not up to me.
“It is up to my promoter and manager to decide what is next.
“We have had two good fights and the fans loved it - so let us do it again. If it was up to me i would gave the rematch straight away,” he added.
Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan is not sure if Santa Cruz will keep his word and come to Belfast.
“Promoter Al Haymon said there will be another match, I trust him completely.
“I want it to be in Belfast and I hope Leo will be honourable and come to Belfast. I think that might be a sticking point.
“We want a rematch but the ball is in their court and we want that rematch straight away. Carl has been away from home for a few fights and he wants to go back to Belfast.
“We have come to America twice and it should come to Belfast. I want it to be in Belfast.
“Hopefully we can get something sorted but I am just really disappointed with the result. It is very tough fighting at this level,” he added.