Ricky Hatton has ruled out taking on Paulie Malignaggi unless he can prove himself in November's comeback fight.
WBA welterweight champion Malignaggi, who lost to the Manchester-based boxer in 2008, is interested in a rematch.
But Hatton told BBC Radio 5 live: "I have already been linked with fights with Paulie Malignaggi, Amir Khan, Kell Brook and all these guys.
"But there is no point in talking about any of them until I show what I have still got left on 24 November."
Hatton confirmed on Friday that he would be coming out of retirement for a welterweight fight against an as yet unnamed opponent at the Manchester Arena.
There has been speculation he could take on American Malignaggi, Bolton's former light-welterweight world champion Khan or unbeaten Sheffield fighter Brook.
"I don't deserve to be talked about in the same bracket as them at the moment," Hatton insisted. "But if I come back in the manner I expect to - and believe me, I will - then we can start talking about these guys.
"I am a realist. I have got to convince everyone not by words, but by fighting."
Malignaggi, beaten by Hatton in Las Vegas four years ago, told BBC Radio 5 live: "I'd love to get the chance to set the record straight if it comes to that.
"If it doesn't, if Ricky doesn't look good in his comeback or things don't go that way, then all the respect to Ricky.
"He's earned the right to make any decision he wants. What he says and what he does should be respected, no matter what."
That victory over Malignaggi was the last of Hatton's 45 career wins to date.
The Briton, who held the WBA and IBF light-welterweight and WBA welterweight titles, was knocked out in the second round of his IBO light-welterweight title fight against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas the following May, and confirmed his retirement last year.
"I have done a lot of hard thinking and a lot of hard work and to say I want to come back with a vengeance is an understatement," added Hatton, who believes his time spent helping train other fighters will aid his own return to the ring.
"Part of my problem throughout my career was that I was so aggressive. I wanted to kill everyone I was in against. I used to fight them like they'd stolen my dinner money.
"I have always had good boxing ability but never really used it because the red mist would set in.
"But hopefully with this new approach to life and my training, this new relaxedness, this good place all-round that I am in, that my boxing - from a technical point of view - will come out more and more.
"To be honest you can change your spots, you can live and learn and be more experienced, but basically I like to fight, end of.
"If you buy a ticket for 24 November, you are not going to see a tickling contest. You are going to see me flying at someone, but hopefully with a bit more patience.
"If I lose, I will still be able to retire in a better place. But if I don't give it another go, I am going to spend another three years sulking about it.
"I have got to go in there and find out. There is no point in me telling you how well I am doing in the gym and how sharp I am looking in sparring. The only way I will make people believe in me again is when they see me splatter somebody."
Malignaggi added: "I'm keen and interested in his comeback. I lost to him four years ago. I'm curious to see how he looks on 24 November. Based on how he looks then, it will be a big measuring stick in terms of his name being mentioned with world championship fighters in 2013 and 2014."