A meeting between the pair had always seemed unlikely but chatter regarding a clash has been fairly consistent – before kicking into overdrive for Conlan’s big homecoming fight card at the SSE Odyssey Arena at the end of last month.
Now Frampton [25(14)-1(0)] has put it in no uncertain terms – he and Conlan [8(5)-0] will NOT fight.
Talk of a fight has been ongoing ever since, in an interview with the Irish News way back in 2015, Conlan stated his desire for a 2018 clash following his World Amateur Championships win.
Conlan reiterated this desire to the BBC the following year in the wake of his pro move.
Talk again restarted around the time of Conlan’s professional debut at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day 2017, with Frampton’s name being mentioned copiously. ‘The Jackal’ would come out to label the talk “a bit off” in an interview with the Irish News.
Following his departure from the McGuigans, Frampton admitted that the fight was a possibility, telling the Irish News “who knows what’ll happen in a few years? There was a made-up beef between us in the press but me and Mick get on quite well. Business is business though…”
Following this, though, Conlan and Frampton became managerial stablemates under Mack The Knife Global and acquaintanceship turned into friendship. Both distanced themselves from a potential fight but Conlan was put on the spot a lot last month.
The Falls feather, in the lead up to his victorious homecoming versus Adeilson Dos Santos, was questioned on a Frampton fight by IFL TV and stated that “we’re brothers now” before noting “never say never.. money talks and if the money was right for both of us to fight, he wouldn’t say now, I wouldn’t say now, one hundred percent it could happen.”
As one can see, talk of a fight has always been in response to media questioning and posing, and Frampton wants to put an end to it now.
Writing in his weekly column for the Sunday Life, the 31-year-old Tiger’s Bay fighter outlined how “before and after last weekend’s show at the SSE Arena, the topic of me possibly fighting Michael Conlan came up far too often, so it’s time to put the record straight.
“We’re both fed up having to answer the question or seeing it being talked about in some quarters.”
“Why certain parts of the media keep bringing it up is beyond me because it is quite obvious Mick and I are at two completely different stages of out careers and, secondly, we’re mates so when you put those two things together it just makes the whole suggestion absurd.”
Frampton does not feel he has ever been ‘called out’ by Conlan and can sympathise with the 26-year-old. He described how “in the past Mick has been put in a difficult position being questioned about whether or not he would be willing to fight me…”
“Any fighter is never going to say he wouldn’t face someone in case it is perceived that you are somehow afraid. But that is not the case for Mick and myself.”
The friendship which has developed over the past year is one thing, but career-stage is the big blocker.
Frampton could well retire next year and is keen to end talk of an all-Irish fight ahead of his Windsor Park clash with Luke Jackson and subsequent IBF title challenge versus Josh Warrington.
After this a return to America and big fights with Leo Santa Cruz and Oscar Valdez looks to be on the agenda rather than a cross-city clash.
Frampton reasoned that “Mick is a developing professional and I’m at a stage of my career where I’m looking to have world title fights because who knows how long I have left.”
“Quite simply, once and for all, Mick and I will never fight and I hope this puts an end to all the silly talk and questions.”
“By the time he gets to world level I could easily be ready to say goodbye to the ring.
His promotional outfit Top Rank will keep giving him the right fights at the right time – and everyone should be clear that I will not be one of those standing in the opposite corner.”