By Keith Idec
Michael Conlan completely understands that he and Carl Frampton are at different stages of their boxing careers.
Conlan and Frampton also are friends. Conlan still won’t rule out the possibility of fighting Frampton in what would be a huge fight in their native Northern Ireland.
Conlan initially told IFL TV that “it’s not gonna happen,” yet admitted that if he and Frampton were offered enough money that the featherweights from Belfast could fight. Frampton attended Conlan’s fight Saturday night at Odyssey Arena in Belfast, where the 2016 Olympian beat Brazil’s Adeilson Dos Santos (19-5, 15 KOs) on points in an eight-round bout (79-73).
“Nah. It’s not gonna happen,” Conlan said of fighting Frampton. “We’re brothers. We’re brothers. Listen, if it did happen, a hundred percent I’d be up for it if our paths crossed. Never say never, a hundred percent. But I’m friends with Carl and he [was] there Saturday night, supporting me, and I’ll be at Windsor, supporting him. But listen, money talks and if the money was right for both of us to fight, he wouldn’t say no, I wouldn’t say no. A hundred percent, it could happen.”
The 26-year-old Conlan (8-0, 5 KOs) hopes to fight for a world title sometime in 2019. If Frampton is a world champion next year and can’t land the fights he wants most – specifically a rubber match with Leo Santa Cruz – boxing Conlan could be become an attractive alternative.
The 31-year-old Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs) is scheduled to face Australia’s Luke Jackson (16-0, 7 KOs) on August 18 at Windsor Park, a soccer stadium in Belfast. They’ll fight for the WBO’s interim 126-pound championship.
Thereafter, Frampton hopes to secure a third fight against Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs). Frampton beat Santa Cruz by majority decision in their first fight, but Santa Cruz defeated Frampton by majority decision in their January 2017 rematch and regained the WBA featherweight title.
“In fairness to him, he can continue on for a few more years, but he could be in the final chapter of his career,” Conlan said of Frampton. “And hopefully he gets that Santa Cruz rematch, which he’s down for. Hopefully he gets another world title, first off. But hopefully, the main thing for him before he finishes his career is get that rubber match, and he gets the victory. If I was him and I got that, I’d call it a day after beating him. Go out on a high.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.