Dave ‘Boy’ McAuley has spent hours watching and studying Leo Santa Cruz in action over the last few days.
McAuley - the former IBF Flyweight World champion - has taken a close look at the Mexican and he is sure Carl Frampton will dethrone WBA Featherweight king Santa Cruz when they meet in New York at the end of July.
Santa Cruz has been a World champion at Bantamweight, super-bantamweight and featherweight but McAuley believes ‘The Jackal’ has the unbeaten Mexican’s number.
“I have watched Santa Cruz over the last few years and I spent time on Friday and Saturday watching him fighting at bantamweight, super-bantamweight and featherweight.
“I watched him winning the WBA featherweight title against Abner Mares and I watched him in his only defence against Kiko Martinez.
“I believe Carl will have too much for him, but it will be the toughest fight of Carl’s career.
“And I think Santa Cruz’s ream are crazy to fight Carl. If they have done their homework - you would avoid Frampton at all costs,” he added.
And McAuley says Santa Cruz is at a similar level to Chris Avalos - who Frampton took apart in Belfast in 2015. And he believes there will be the same outcome.
“I watched Avalos many times before he fought Frampton and I was impressed. He was a good fighter - but Carl dismantled him that night and got the victory.
“Carl has that gift that very few fighters have. He is that one fighter that comes around every so often.
“He has the gift that if the fighter is awful - he will be slightly better and if the fighter is good - he will be slightly better, And if the other guy is very good - Carl will be slightly better, We have not seen the best of him and the better the fighter he faces, the better he will become.
“Most fighters are at their best in every fight - but he has the ability to take it to another level. He is a special talent.
“I thought Avalos was a very good fighter and he made him look foolish and destroyed him that night
“And against Avalos I was sitting ringside and you could feel the power in Frampton’s punches.
“He hits very hard and they all seem surprised by how hard he hits,” he added.
But McAuley says he would have defended Frampton’s IBF World title against Shingo Wake and then moved on to face Santa Cruz.
“My IBF belt was special to me and I would not have given that up for anything. If it was me I would have defended my IBF title - I think Carl beats Wake easy - and then go on and face Santa Cruz later in the year.
“Because if something goes wrong against Santa Cruz - and I really hope is doesn’t - you would still have your IBF belt. But that is just my opinion.”