Boxing politics can stifle any career and my gym-mate Jack Catterall has been sitting in a mandatory position for around 18 months now, but the world will finally get a chance to see what he can really do.
Even more so, Jack can go from being one of the most frustrated fighters on the planet to setting himself up for life if he can beat WBO and WBC light-welterweight champion Jose Ramirez. Immediately after Ramirez outpointed Viktor Postol last weekend in Vegas, the WBO ordered that negotiations start for his fight with Jack.
If negotiations do not work out, the fight will go to purse bids. If Jack wins, that would set up a unification fight with IBF/WBA champion Josh Taylor for all four belts — and a massive pay day for both men.
Boxing careers can change in a moment and at last Jack’s time is coming. Some say the unification fight between Taylor and Ramirez trumps a mandatory defence and often that is the case. However, when someone has been waiting around for as long as Jack has then I don’t think anyone can argue against the fact that he deserves his opportunity.
It can happen too often in boxing that wheels within wheels can leave a fighter on the sidelines because a champion wants to take a different option. A lot of sympathy has been flowing the way of Dillian Whyte over the past year or more and that is understandable but Jack has been left in the shadows.
There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you have earned your chance and can’t get it. When I defeated Hugo Cazares in a final eliminator for a shot at the WBC super-bantamweight title, Leo Santa Cruz suddenly went very quiet after talking about fighting me for a while. Rather than go stale, I had to find another route and thankfully that opened up with my shot at Kiko Martinez for his IBF belt — exactly six years ago today.
That was an amazing night, a dream come true to win the world title in Belfast before a crowd of 16,000 in a purpose-built arena and it set me up for more great occasions.
My path to the title was a lot smoother than Jack’s and in the current climate he may not have any fans in the arena when he fights Ramirez but I can honestly say he has a great chance of taking the belts. If he can perform the way he does in the gym, he has a great chance.
The fact is that the public have not seen the true ability of Jack but I believe that Ramirez is the kind of opponent that will bring out the best in him. Against other fighters he has mentally switched off at times but he knows against this guy he has to be on it for 12 rounds.
He has sparred with Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez, two of the all-time greats, and paid his own way to America to do it early in his career so he has invested in himself and now hopefully comes the pay-off.
Jack and Josh Taylor are the only two guys I would have always stayed behind to watch spar after my own training session was done. When Jack goes through the gears he is great to watch.
Throughout this frustrating time Jack hasn’t moaned, he has just stayed focused and remained in the gym. All he needs now is a date to focus on for a night that can change his career forever — just like September 6, 2014 was for me.
Padraig McCrory delivered his best performance as a professional so far last Wednesday night and showed the kind of power that can make him a danger to anyone on the domestic super-middleweight scene.
Padraig's clash with Mickey Ellison was seen by many as a 50-50 fight so to win so emphatically in just 70 seconds was brilliant. It was also a good stoppage by the referee because it was clear that Ellison was badly hurt.
That was an eight-rounder so the next move has to be a 10-rounder for Padraig and another decent step up in class. He's 32 so there is no time to waste and with the power he has, you know Padraig will be in exciting fights.
Daniel Dubois took care of business last weekend and now it's all about his big showdown with Joe Joyce, and I suppose the only question mark is whether or not you have to wait until you can have a packed hall.
I know promoter Frank Warren has booked the Royal Albert Hall for October and if that happens it would be great for both men, particularly Joyce because time is not on his side.
It's obviously a fight that deserves fans but then again nobody wants to see them continuing to fight their recent level of opposition. Covid-19 has caused everyone headaches but it does seem when it comes to boxing that all-domestic fights are the safest option, otherwise it is easy to have to end up with late substitute opponents.
Dubois and Joyce should be a cracker. With or without fans, the fight must happen.
It has been a long time coming but finally it seems I will be able to put my legal dispute with the McGuigans behind me.
The case is expected to be heard on Tuesday and I just hope that it is dealt with satisfactorily. It has been in the back of my mind over the past three years but I haven't allowed it to damage my ring career.
It was unfortunate that it had to come to this but it is necessary and my family and I just want to move on as swiftly as we possibly can.
When any new manager takes over you're always a bit wary of just how things will go but it was clear to see on Ian Baraclough's first night in charge that the same spirit is in the Northern Ireland camp.
Down to 10 men, a goal behind and the Romanians putting us under pressure, I thought the lads showed great determination and heart.
They're playing for Baraclough the way they did for Michael O'Neill which is great to see - and I suppose what we expect from the men in green and white.
It was great to see a former Crusaders man in Gavin Whyte get the equaliser. I thought he took it really well but I was also delighted for Kyle Lafferty. Big Laff showed everyone that he still has plenty to offer and is a handful for any defence with the way he nodded the ball on to Whyte.
Now we can hope for three points against Norway tomorrow night at Windsor Park.