The Irish Eye: May part 2
May was another jam-packed month in Irish boxing, so we are bringing you a special three-part edition of 'The Irish Eye' to make sure every base is covered... In part two Kane Clarke brings us the latest news of Michael Conlan...
On 26 May, Ireland's hottest prospect, Michael Conlan, topped the bill at the UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois, and took just three rounds to dispatch Mexican Alfredo Chanez, to improve his perfect record to 2(2)-0.
'The Conlan Revolution' had rolled in to town, and traditional Irish singer, Paddy Homan, originally from Cork but now living in Chicago, sang the Irish National Anthem before the main event, whipping the crowd into a frenzy and it wasn't long before the familiar 'Ole Ole Ole' chants rang around the Pavilion awaiting the main attraction's ring-walk .
With Irish music filling the speakers, Conlan came out looking composed and focused, and would continue to look so as the bout got under way, starting orthodox, and punishing Chanez with powerful counters any time he dared to throw a punch.
Half-way through the opening stanza, Conlan was hurting Chanez with single right hands. A couple of right-hooks followed by a beautiful right uppercut then sent Chanez to the canvas - the game Mexican unsteadily rose to beat the eight count and the action continued, but Conlan landed several more eye-catching shots throughout the last minute of the round. The referee could arguably have stopped the fight there and then, with Chanez knowing he was in deep waters, and beginning to complain to the referee as well as look to hold and spoil the action at any given opportunity.
In the second round, Conlan decided to switch the southpaw pretty early on, looking for the lead right hook and uppercut before switching back to orthodox to attack the body of the game journeyman. In the last minute of the second Chanez again hit the canvas, this time complaining of a low-blow which actually looked to be a well placed bodyshot from Conlan.
At the beginning of the third the fighters fell into a clinch with Conlan throwing a right hand to the body and head, which again Chanez complained about. However referee Celestino Ruiz was wise to the Mexican's tactics, and ordered the boxers to continue. Mick unloaded on Chanez, forcing him to the ropes and punishing him severely.
The complaining continued from Chanez, and Conlan continued to dish out the punishment - a switch back to southpaw saw Conlan viciously attack the body. Chanez, under desperate pressure, tried to grab a hold of Conlan but, leaning in, left himself open for two right hands to the body from the Irishman, who seemed to have forever to eye the shot up, before landing it with power and precision to send Chanez crumbling to the canvas where he winced in pain before making an effort to rise and continue. Referee Ruiz then correctly called a halt to the bout.
A disappointed Conlan reflected after the fight: "It was my first time in against a guy who was completely negative and trying to survive from the start and complaining about nothing at times. But, you know, it's a part of the pro game when you fight these types of guys, they're there to make you look bad, they're there to survive, so y'know, I'm not happy with my performance, I'll say that right now, but it is what it is, I got the win and next stop Brisbane."
Michael is clearly a perfectionist and therefore can be very critical of his own performances, as seen after his debut where he graded his performance as an 'F'. This time he wasn't just as hard on himself saying: "I'll give it an 'E' ... I'm not happy tonight, no!"
Despite what Conlan thinks, it was another impressive performance for the 25-year-old super-banatmweight, who now moves to 2-0 with two third-round TKO victories. Up next is another six-round contest as chief support to Jeff Horn, whose world-title challenge to the great Manny Pacquiao takes place in Brisbane, Australia, on 2 July at the 52,000 capacity Suncorp Stadium. Conlan will face local man Jarrett Owen 5(2)-4(3)-3.
"I want someone who's going to want to come and win," Conlan commented. "Someone who's gonna want to test me, I think we have an opponent lined up for Brisbane, and I can't wait for that because he is a game come-forward fighter and someone who is going to try to take my head off, which is what I want."