Carl Frampton sees Michael Conlan and Ryan Burnett as possible future opponents
CARL Frampton has fought 24 times as a professional and says he wants five more fights before he “sails off into the sunset with another belt or two”.
A third meeting with Leo Santa Cruz is the rumble he wants, but he says he “wouldn't turn his nose up” at IBF featherweight king Lee Selby either and also sees Belfast pair Michael Conlan and Ryan Burnett as future opponents.
“I want about five fights over the next couple of years and then hopefully I'll sail off into the sunset with one or two more belts,” he said.
“At this stage of my career I'm ahead of Mick (Conlan) just because of what I've done, but Mick is an incredible fighter.
“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 and Mick is an incredible fighter, very skilful with a very good team and he could be a superstar.
“Ryan Burnett (is a potential opponent) as well I suppose. He's around the same weight division as well so you never know what position they'll be in in a couple of years and what position I'll be in.”
‘The Jackal', currently 23-1 after losing to Leo Santa Cruz in January, has yet to decide on a new promoter but his pulling power leaves him a strong position for negotiation a good deal.
“In 2016 I was Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year – the best fighter in the world and it's unbelievable to say that – so at this point in my career I'm still a good fighter, I'm still a big name,” he said.
“As long as promoters understand that when they make their offers, we'll get the right one.
“I think I'm in a strong position, if they want me it's about whoever offers me the best deal and delivers a fight at Windsor Park.
“Two of the things I want are to fight before the end of this year and to fight at Windsor Park at some point before I retire – probably in the summer of next year. I've been telling the promoters that and if they can deliver those two things for me they're halfway to getting me.
“They should be deliverable, I don't think it should be a problem, the one this year is probably a bigger problem because we're in September now so it's about getting the right promoter and that's up to me. I need to get a move on with who I'm choosing.”
Frampton's desire to fight at Windsor Park could make this closing phase of his career the best of the lot. For the stadium glory night he craves to happen, he'll need to recapture form and fitness and return to the peak of his powers.
“I can perform with any featherweight in the world,” he says.
“I didn't make the weight the last time, but I'm still a featherweight and I should have made the weight and made it comfortably. I still believe I can perform with the best of them and I can beat anyone, any featherweight in the world, on my day. That's where I'm at at the minute and I want to go out and prove that again.
“I don't want people to think: ‘Ach Frampton's left the McGuigans, he's on the slide, blah, blah, blah' because I'm not. I feel like I've still got another solid couple of years left in me and I feel that if I had a camp I could beat Leo Santa Cruz.
“That's the fight that I want because he beat me. It's 1-1 and it makes a lot of sense. All the boxes are ticked for that fight.
“But listen, if I got Lee Selby at Windsor I wouldn't turn my nose up at that either, even Abner Mares or someone like that.”
After swapping London-based Shane McGuigan for Manchester-based Jamie Moore, Frampton Frampton confirmed that he will train in Manchester during the week and return home to his wife Christine and young family at the weekends.
“I want to be based in Manchester with Jamie. I'll train there and come home at the weekends like I did when I was in London,” he said.
“It suits me because there's a lot of distractions over here and I can go and do my training, get on with it and come home and see the family at the weekend.
“I'm not in camp. I'm doing a bit of training and I'll go over in the middle of next week and that'll be me in ‘camp mode'.”
He added: “I feel good, I feel in a good place and I'm happy.
“I'll have a good team with Jamie Moore and the rest of the team that's over there.
“I went and blew the cobwebs off in Vegas for a few days and I needed to do something like that, let the hair down.”
Moore was a front foot battler as a fighter but certainly won't attempt to turn counter-puncher Frampton into one. ‘The Jackal' knows that's not an option at this stage of his career, but does intends to tinker with his pre-fight preparations.
“I'll probably reduce the rounds of sparring that I do but that's something that I've wanted to do for quite a while,” he said.
“In some camps I've sparred over 200 rounds. It's sparring, you're wearing big gloves and a headguard, but you're still getting hit in the head. I enjoy sparring but sometimes I get a bit too macho in it and try and have fights with people when I don't need to.
“It's still a bit of punishment you're taking and I've spoken to Jamie about it. We're both of the same opinion about reducing the rounds of sparring.”