Those were the thoughts of Barry McGuigan when asked about the possibility of Carl Frampton meeting Guillermo Rigondeaux, shortly after his boxer defeated Scott Quigg to add the WBA super-bantamweight strap to his IBF title.
A month later, the WBA ordered Frampton to face the unbeaten Cuban.
That proved the catalyst for a belt stripping, followed by a plethora of debate over the term “ducking”. It all transpired as the Northern Irishman contemplated his eventual move to featherweight.
When the Rigo question popped up again after he took Leo Santa Cruz’s WBA crown at 126lbs, Frampton replied honestly.
“I’m 29 – I have a few years left in me. I want to live a comfortable life after boxing.
“Rigo doesn’t bring a pound to the table. That’s the way it is. He’s an unbelievable fighter but I’m being honest – there’s no money in the fight.”
The Jackal, a top-ten pound-for-pound pugilist, outpointed Quigg in February and his July scrap with Santa Cruz in New York is my fight of the year. His performance was one of the best ever on the road by a Brit.
The rematch, next month in Las Vegas, promises to be another classic.
But such blatant avoidance of a rival – the guy in your division – seems ill-befitting of the fighter of the year.
Intriguingly, many fans are willing to give Frampton a pass in this area when I’m certain a Matchroom boxer would get hammered for a similar swerve.
I narrowed it down to four men – Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward, Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko.
Lomachenko looked excellent taking the WBO super-featherweight strap from Roman Martinez in a brutal stoppage win before outclassing Nicholas Walters in his first defence.
As Martinez had been halted before [by Mikey Garcia in 2013] – and the Orlando Salido rematch failed to materialise – I overlooked the former amateur superstar.
Crawford’s finest hour was an outrageously dominant display against Viktor Postol to unify the WBC and WBO light-welterweight titles.
Yet his other wins – over John Molina Jr and Hank Lundy – slightly undermine his claim.
Then there’s Kovalev and Ward.
After their captivating-but-controversial contest, I wrote: “On first watch [Sky Sports] I thought the Oakland man edged it.
“Repeat viewing on Sunday night [HBO] resulted in a 114-113 scorecard for the Russian; I gave him the opening four plus six and ten, with the second-round knockdown vital.”
The unbeaten American’s other opponents this year were big-punching light-heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera and the overmatched Alexander Brand.
Kovalev also fought Jean Pascal and Isaac Chilemba, arguably giving him the best record of the aforementioned quartet in 2016. It’s only fair to acknowledge that he challenged Ward in a way no other rival has.
Nevertheless, the record books will show a win for the 2004 Olympic champion.
With fighter of the year, just like the result of their brilliant bout, I wouldn’t complain either way.
Frampton fans will point to his unification of titles at super-bantamweight and featherweight to make a case for him.
The boxing media, written and broadcast, can be infuriating at times.