Former two division world champion Carl Frampton does not expect an easy road in the boxing future of Irish Olympian Michael Conlan.
This past Saturday night at SSE Arena in Belfast, Conlan was knocked out in the fifth round by IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez.
Conlan was challenging for a world title for the second time in his career.
Back in 2022, he appeared to be on the verge of capturing gold when he dropped WBA champion Leigh Wood very hard in the first round. Wood was able to recover and then rally in the second half to knock Conlan out in the twelfth round.
Conlan has already stated that he plans to take some time off - to mull over his future in the sport.
Frampton believes the twice-beaten fighter is capable of coming back and going on another world title run, but he also cautions that it won't be an easy task with the losses on his record.
"Mick is probably the most skilled fighter that Ireland has ever seen. I mean that. That's no consolation to him, he'll be disappointed that he's lost a fight. He's had two cracks at a world title now - he lost very unluckily to Leigh Wood [in March 2022] right at the death, but this fight he was taken apart," Frampton said on his Youtube channel.
"He's not getting any younger now. I think one of the issues going forward for Mick will be that he is a difficult fight for people, but he's lost twice. He's had two world title attempts and he's lost twice. A champion may look at Mick Conlan and go, 'why do I need to take that fight?'
"He doesn't really bring loads to the table, because of the defeats now. It's a hard, hard fight. It's going to be difficult for him. He needs to get a couple of wins again, maybe, before he's back in line to fight. He may have to get in to a mandatory position because he's the most skilled fighter in Ireland, and who wants to fight him if you're going to have a difficult fight? What I will say - and, again, no consolation - there have been much lesser world champions than Mick Conlan. I do think he can come back, but it's not going to be easy."