Carl Frampton has a big fight this Friday at Belfast's Odyssey Arena on BoxNation, and if he beats Hugo Cazares as expected, he says he's hoping to fight another three times before the end of 2014, including the title shot he'd have earned against Leo Santa Cruz if he beats Cazares in the WBC super bantamweight eliminator.
"This year, despite my late start, I hope to fight four times. I don't expect a world title fight with Santa Cruz to happen before about September because he's been quite hectic of late and picked up a cut in his last fight so probably needs a rest. He's publically said that he needs a long camp for me which shows he respects me.
"Hopefully I come through on Friday, then I'd like another one around June before the world title challenge in early autumn. If all goes to plan I'd love to squeeze in a world title defence before the end of the year."
Frampton (17-0, 12 KO) will be the heavy favorite against 36-year-old Mexican veteran Cazares (40-7-2, 27 KO), a former titleholder at 108 and 115 pounds. Cazares has won five in a row following a 2011 loss to Tomonobu Shimizu, a split decision in Japan, and can still fight. But it's expected, on paper at least, that the younger, naturally stronger Frampton will have the advantage -- and, of course, he's at home.
Whether or not Frampton can fight four times this year, he'll have a lot of eyes on his performance Friday, with the hope that it will set up Santa Cruz vs Frampton, which both men believe could be a Fight of the Year candidate if it happens.