Carl Frampton ready to conquer Leo Santa Cruz for the second time in Las Vegas

Carl Frampton lands a left hand on Leo Santa Cruz in their first contest last July
Carl Frampton produced a brilliant display to outpoint Leo Santa Cruz in New York last July
WBA featherweight world title bout: Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz
Date: Saturday, 28 January Venue: MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas Start: From 04:00 GMT (Sunday)
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

Veni, vidi, vici.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Recently Carl Frampton joked that when he had Julius Caesar's words tattooed on his chest at 18-years-old, he hadn't achieved much. How times have changed.

As he approaches his 30th birthday, the Belfast man is already a history maker, a role model, and one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.

He won almost every individual award in the sport for his performances in 2016. Ring Magazine, ESPN and USA Today were just some of the bodies that named him fighter of the year.

Listen: Inside Frampton's training camp with BBC Radio 5 live

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Frampton says world title win over Santa Cruz 'creates a bit of legacy'

Frampton upsets the odds in New York

Frampton and his manager Barry McGuigan have always said: "To make it in boxing, you need to make it in America."

Before his July showdown with Leo Santa Cruz, nearly every US boxing pundit backed the Mexican to continue his undefeated career.

However, it was the Belfast fighter who left with the WBA world featherweight title having almost certainly booked his spot in the sport's Hall of Fame following a stunning victory.

Two rounds in, after Frampton had almost knocked down Santa Cruz with a clubbing blow, a group of the American reporters turned round to me ringside, and screamed: "Who the hell is this kid? He is the real deal."

They were marvelling at his performance against a three-weight world champion, who is a big star Stateside.

Carl Frampton talks to BBC Sport NI's Thomas Kane after his win over Leo Santa Cruz last July
Carl Frampton remains grounded despite his success, says BBC Sport NI's Thomas Kane

The USA had fallen in love with Carl Frampton. It is easy to see why.

In politics and public office, analysts refer to the "likeability factor". Some have it, some don't. Frampton simply oozes it.

It hasn't been sculpted, or manufactured. He is one of the most genuine, decent, honest and grounded sportsmen I have ever met.

He is a proud Belfast boy who has fanatical supporters willing to travel anywhere to watch him fight.

The day after his victory over Santa Cruz, he booked out a Manhattan bar and invited all his fans, by way of saying thank you.

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Santa Cruz: Dad's cancer meant I wasn't 100% for first Frampton fight

It was an incredibly classy move from the 29-year-old, as he was intending to hold the event regardless of how he fared the previous night.

He didn't have to do it, but wanted to give fans an opportunity to chat with him, get something signed, or take a selfie.

It wasn't a PR stunt, it was Carl being Carl, pint in hand, having the craic and taking time to chat to each and every person.

The supporters appreciated it - a free drink is always nice - but after many of them had shelled out a lot of money to head to the Big Apple, getting an opportunity to chat with the main man was the icing on the cake following an unforgettable weekend.

Fast forward a few months, and Santa Cruz wants revenge. He says that he may even consider quitting boxing should he lose the rematch on Saturday at the MGM Grand.

Vegas bout career-defining for protagonists

Make no mistake, this is a career-defining fight for the Californian-based Mexican. But the same can be said about Frampton.

He is entering the last three or four years of his career and wants to make the most of them.

Frampton doesn't want to ride off into the sunset. He wants to go out swinging.

His legacy, that's what it is all about now. He wants every fight to be a big fight. No messing about.

He isn't a man to look too far ahead, but he feels like a new man at featherweight - stronger, more powerful, capable of anything - something that his sparring partners would back up.

He has history in his sights. Becoming Ireland's first three-weight world champion is achievable.

Beating Santa Cruz could set up a summer showdown at Windsor Park against Welshman Lee Selby and the chance to unify two divisions in under two years.

Muhammad Ali during his successful world heavyweight title defence against Ron Lyle in 1975
Muhammad Ali (left) is among the boxing greats to have showcased their talent in Las Vegas

Frampton joins champions who have fought in Vegas

Santa Cruz will want to quash that dream, or at least stall it.

The two fighters are family men, fathers and husbands first, boxers second. Their perspective on life is refreshing in high-end sport, as is their respect for each others' abilities.

There is no need to trash talk, or disrespect one another; this fight sells itself.

The MGM in Vegas has hosted some of the biggest bouts in the sports history, and this has all the makings of a classic. All great sportsmen need a rival and, as Frampton says, maybe Santa Cruz will be his "dance partner".

People of a certain generation know where they were when McGuigan defeated Eusebio Pedroza in 1985. It was an iconic moment watched by 20 million people, while half of Ireland claims to have been at Loftus Road.

In years to come, will 28 January 2017 become just as memorable?

If so, the Belfast fighter really will have conquered the boxing world and lived up to that teenage tattoo.

Veni, vidi, vici.

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