‘The Jackal’s’ former training partner and boxing ‘little brother’ lost his WBA bantamweight title earlier this month, retiring after the fourth round of his World Boxing Super Series quarter-final with former Frampton foe Nonito Donaire in Glasgow.
The Antrim Road puncher severely tore internal oblique muscles which were also detached from the bone and faces two to three months on the sidelines before he can even consider returning to training.
However, it is not the physical recovery that Frampton is concerned about.
Burnett has proven time and again his determination but the Tiger’s Bay 31-year-old worries that his fellow North Belfast man may be frozen out of the world title scene by boxing politics.
“I fear there will be a lot more frustration ahead,” Frampton wrote in his weekly column for the Sunday Life.
He explained how “the big concern for me is that it is going to be a very, very long road back to another World title opportunity for Burnett.”
“He’s a good fighter and will be the head of the ‘who needs him club’ when it comes to a World champion defending his title. He brings danger that a champion doesn’t need.”
“Losing your title is not good for business, particularly when you are still seen as a dangerous opponent.”
Indeed, even if 26-year-old Burnett was seen as an attractive opponent for a world champion, Frampton noted that the timings will not line up for a while.
The WBA, IBF, and WBO belts will all be tied up in the WBSS until next summer while a vacant tile fight has yet to be determined for the WBC belt anc the winner of this match-up would then surely take a voluntary before, perhaps, an undisputed unification with the WBSS winner.
Then there is the small matter of Burnett’s return from injury and the rebuild process.
Frampton described how “all the World titles are going to be tied up in the World Boxing Super Series which wraps up next summer and whoever comes out of that will not want it put their belts on the line against Burnett. Even if they did, Burnett is not going to walk straight back into another World title fight.”
“He will need time to get himself back on track and if anyone knows what it’s like in terms of returning to the World title scene it’s me,” added Frampton referencing the 23-month gap between his rematch defeat to Leo Santa Cruz and his return to world title fights versus Josh Warrington next month.
One potential ray of light Frampton sees is a continued ascent up the weights from tournament favourite Naoya Inoue.
The Japanese puncher won a WBC light flyweight title in 2014 before skipping flyweight and going straight into a prolonged reign as WBO super flyweight champion. ‘Monster’ will look to become a three-weight champ when he takes on IBF bantamweight king Manny Rodriguez next year and is tipped to continue climbing.
Frampton reasoned that “that may open up an opportunity for Burnett to get back in the mix – but everything seems to be very much up in the air.”