Kevin Maree is excited by the prospect of a third fight between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz following another tight encounter between the pair.
The WBA Super World featherweight title swapped hands at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after the Jackal was subjected to his first ever defeat in the professional ranks.
Though one of the ringside judges, Burt Clements, scored the contest as a draw after 12 exhilarating rounds of the rematch, both Dave Moretti and Glenn Feldman gave the decision in Santa Cruz’s favour.
Seven of those rounds were agreed on unanimously by all three panelists but the two scores of 115-113 pushed a majority decision in to the new champion’s favour as he had his arm held aloft by referee Kenny Bayless.
Now, with the rivalry level at one apiece, boxing coach Maree feels that there’s huge potential for the trilogy to be completed at Belfast’s Windsor Park.
“It makes it a big fight to complete the trilogy now,” he said. “It really does set it up perfectly. Fingers crossed it’s in Belfast because they’ll put on a huge show over there. I think it will be in the summer, outside at Windsor Park.
“You can’t leave it too long because you need to keep the momentum building so the last two fights are still in the memory. You don’t want enthusiasm dwindling.”
Maree, who coached Frampton at Gisburn’s Stirk House when the Northern Irishman’s career was in its infancy having been introduced by former WBA and lineal featherweight champion Barry McGuigan MBE around a decade ago, believes that the unfamiliarity of being behind on the cards cost the 29-year-old dearly.
The defending champion was behind after the opening round and failed to find a rhythm when chasing the fight after the ninth round.
“There may have been a touch of over-confidence but I think this will do him the world of good,” said Maree. “Santa Cruz fought the perfect fight which helped him edge it because they are two very well matched opponents.
“It was definitely the right decision. Carl was caught really early on, in the first few seconds, and it seemed to shock him slightly. He ended up over-committing, throwing himself in and playing in to Santa Cruz’s hands.
“It was a bit reckless, desperate even, and he was diving in so Santa Cruz could see his attacks coming from far away.
“It becomes a dangerous game when you’re trying to chase it and Carl has never been in that situation.”
He added: “From that position you’ve got to keep your composure and stick to the plan. It becomes easier for your opponent because they can telegraph everything you do.
“Santa Cruz could see the whole picture in front of him. Tall fighters can pick you off at will if you’re not smart.
“He has to go back to the first fight where he was counter-punching and his attacks were more educated. He was getting caught this time because he was too wild. I think you’ll see a more focussed Carl Frampton next fight.”
Maree Promotions is hosting an exclusive evening with Carl Frampton at the Stirk House, Gisburn, on Saturday, February 25th.
Tickets for the event, which are priced at £75, can be purchased via the website at www.http://mareepromotions.co.uk or by calling (01200) 445581.
The evening will include a three-course meal, an auction with an array of sporting memorabilia, a question and answer session and photograph opportunities.