by Shaun Brown
The period of frustration in Terry Flanagan's career continues...
The WBO Lightweight champion, who may return in December but is still waiting on a confirmed date, is desperate for a unification fight to take place between himself and Jorge Linares.
Unbeaten Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) is hopeful that a fight between himself and the WBA champion may happen by the end of the year or early in 2018, however the 28-year-old Mancunian has reached a point where is getting fed up with the big fights not happening for him.
"2017, 2016 2015... I've never got the fights I wanted," said Flanagan when speaking to Boxing Scene this week. "People say it's because of the promoter (Frank Warren) I'm under. Basically it comes down to people not wanting to fight me.
"There's a world title there to be won. Someone come and take it. If I'm as bad as people say I am on social media why don't no-one come and take the title? It's there.
"I'm struggling to get a big fight. No-one wants to fight me and then I end up getting a voluntary, and everyone slags the opponent. I think they've [WBO] made [Ray] Beltran mandatory. I want unification's. When I beat Beltran everyone will say he's old and past it. I can't win. I'm getting worked up over it because I am the best, and I want to prove I am the best but I can't until them fights getting made."
Flanagan's sole outing in 2017 was a points victory over Petr Petrov. It was Flanagan's fifth defence since winning the title in 2015 against Jose Zepeda. Diego Magdaleno, Derry Mathews, Mzonke Fana and Orlando Cruz were what followed before his win against Petrov.
And while Beltran may not be a fight he wants, in terms of what it means to his career and legacy there is no danger of Flanagan coasting through a camp because the name at the end of it all isn't the seismic one he would like.
"Every fight I put my heart and soul into camp, I work as hard as I've ever worked. Listen, if I was to lose my unbeaten record no-one would want to know would they? I'd may as well retire. If I got beat that would be it for me. People don't want to fight me now when I'm world champion, so I doubt I'd get the fights if I'd slip up. So, I know I have to be 100% and get my head on it. Hopefully they can make them big fights."
While moves are made to get Flanagan his next defence, be that a mandatory or a unification, the interest level from the public in seeing Flanagan fight Anthony Crolla was rekindled at the weekend. His fellow Mancunian edged Ricky Burns over 12 rounds to breathe new life into his career and give him the better options for his career in victory than what would have come in defeat.
Flanagan versus Crolla is a fight that has always made perfect sense but the ship might have sailed on it already, despite Crolla's latest victory.
"I don't give a f*** about that fight," Flanagan bluntly answered when 'Scene asked if he himself still had interest in fighting the former WBA champion at 135lbs.
"I'd rather fight Linares, I want unification fights. It seems to be all about money for other people but I'm about the titles. You're not remembered for how much money you've earned, you're going to be remembered for how many titles you've won. I'm still undefeated lightweight champion of the world. I want to test myself against the best while I'm still in my prime, and Linares is seen as the best but I believe I'm the best."
Looking back at the Crolla-Burns fight itself, the WBO champ said: "You could see why they were both talking about retirement, because it looked like two old men to me. I thought the fight was a close fight but no-one really done anything. They looked like they could have boxed 20 rounds and no-one looked like getting a stoppage. It was the most exciting fight I've ever seen where nothing happened."
It would appear that if your name's not Linares then you're not coming in, but not long after Boxing Scene had spoken to Flanagan there was some interest from Mikey Garcia in travelling to the U.K. to fight the Brit.
Garcia, who had been linked to Miguel Cotto's swansong in December, is one fighter that everyone is keen to see back in the ring as quickly as possible after his destructive win over Dejan Zlaticanin to win the WBC Lightweight title in January and his comfortable points win over Adrien Broner at Super Lightweight in July.
Speaking on Twitter Garcia said: "I'm interested in that," when told by a follower to fight Flanagan in the U.K.
"Reaching out to FW (Frank Warren) and find out," he added.