Carl Frampton: I'm hoping to go for a pint with Santa Cruz after fight

Belfast's Carl Frampton and Mexican Leo Santa Cruz go head-to-head in Las Vegas this weekend.
Belfast's Carl Frampton and Mexican Leo Santa Cruz go head-to-head in Las Vegas this weekend.

Belfast's Carl Frampton is hoping to "go for a pint" with Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas on Saturday - but only after retaining his WBA world featherweight title.

The two-weight world champion defeated Santa Cruz on a majority decision at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in July to win the belt.

That fight was 29-year-old Frampton's first at featherweight and his second also comes against the Mexican in a rematch at the MGM Grand this weekend.

Frampton, undefeated in 23 career bouts, insists there is a lot of respect between the two fighters, and hopes to share a drink with Santa Cruz after their latest showdown.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, the Northern Irishman said: "I'm very confident.

"We're kicking off 2017 with a top-quality fight with Leo again. There's a lot of respect between us two, there's no messing around at all.

"We'll shake hands before the fight, we'll shake hands after the fight, maybe we'll even go for a pint. Who knows? There's no doubt we'll put it all on the line, both of us."

Frampton took his first world title when he beat Spain's Kiko Martinez on a points decision in their IBF super bantamweight title clash in September 2014.

Since then he has gone on to star in the United States and earned rave reviews, especially last year.

Frampton added: "Obviously there's more on the line for both of us.

Carl Frampton with the world title belt.

Carl Frampton with the world title belt.

"I had a great year last year. I was named fighter of the year by many bodies and I want to prove it wasn't a fluke."

Santa Cruz, whose father Jose has been battling cancer, has hinted at retirement should he lose on Saturday.

Frampton, though, has urged the 28-year-old to continue even if he does fall to another defeat.

"He does need it - he's spoken about retiring if he loses this fight," added Frampton. "He doesn't need to speak about that, he's still a young guy.

Frampton rocks Santa Cruz

Frampton rocks Santa Cruz

"I believe myself to be a decent fighter so he doesn't need to retire if he takes a loss again to someone like me."

Santa Cruz has won 32 of his 34 fights - the only other anomaly apart from the Frampton defeat coming in the draw against Rodrigo Hernandez back in 2007.

Santa Cruz said: "It's going to be really tough because Carl Frampton is a great fighter, he has great skills, he's very respectful, a great man.

"I know he does this for his family too, and when you do this for your family, you do it with heart, with hunger and you leave everything in the ring. When I see Carl Frampton, I see myself."