Carl Frampton admits one of the reasons he is still boxing is that he is driven to prove himself a better boxer than his former mentor Barry McGuigan.
Frampton, a former two-weight world champion, hopes he will get the chance to become a triple world champion by facing Jamel Herring, the WBO super-featherweight champion, later this year.
McGuigan, the former WBA featherweight champion, guided Frampton’s career until a bitter split three years ago, which is the subject of a High Court case next month.
“People can argue whether I am already Ireland’s best ever fighter, but if I wins third world title it cements that place - ahead of Steve Collins, ahead of Barry McGuigan, ahead of Katie Taylor. That is what I want,” Frampton said.
“One thing I pride myself on is my honesty and I want to be finish the argument. I am already a two-weight world champion and - with the calibre of fighters I have fought - I could well already be the No1. But I think I cement it if become a three-weight world champion.
“Being recognised as Ireland's greatest ever boxer would mean more to me than two more world titles. Everyone wants to be successful and it would be huge.”
Frampton returns to the ring on Saturday, when he faces late replacement Darren Traynor, who stepped in to replace Armenian Vahram Vardanyan, who was unable to get a visa to enter the UK.
Because of the late switch, the match has been made at lightweight, but Frampton hopes it will put him on point for his fight with Herring, which had been expected to take place in June in Belfast.
The 33-year-old Northern Irishman – who held the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles and the WBA featherweight title – said he considered retiring after losing to Josh Warrington in 2018, but decided he still had things to prove, most notably to McGuigan, whose Cyclone Promotions company promoted Frampton, while his son, Shane, trained him.
“I want to be a three-weight champion so my kids can win playground arguments about who Ireland's greatest fighter was, with facts,” he said.
“If one kid says 'Barry McGuigan is the best Irish fighter ever' then my kids can tell them their that daddy is a three-weight world champion. He did better than Barry McGuigan, so he is.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.