ONE of the success stories of 2017 is proving to be Michael Conlan. After a controversial decision, and his notorious reaction, the Irishman left the Rio Olympics without a medal. But he signed with Top Rank, made his debut on St. Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden, with none other than Conor McGregor at this side and is now awaiting his third professional contest on the Manny Pacquiao card in Australia on July 2.
“It’s crazy,” Michael says, arguably with some understatement.
“I can’t wait. Manny is still one of my favourite fighters,” he continued. “He’s slowed down now from what he was. But he’s still an amazing fighter and somebody I look up to and somebody I could watch all day. He brings excitement, he brings speed, he brings power and he’s just a humble lovely guy and it’ll be great to be around him. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be co-feature to Manny Pacquiao.”
Conlan took his second professional win in Chicago on May 26, halting Alfredo Chanez in three rounds. “The guy didn’t bring anything. We watched videos of him and we thought he was going to at least come and try but he’d never fought outside of Mexico. I think he’d probably never fought as a main event. It probably just got to him and he shied away,” Michael said. “He went into complete survival, he was trying all the old tricks, trying to get me disqualified.
“It was good to get that type of experience because I could feel myself starting to get a wee bit frustrated. I had to pull myself back.”
He remains in touch with Irish MMA icon Conor McGregor. The UFC star is considering a switch to boxing to take on the best in the sport in Floyd Mayweather. Conlan is not only an Olympic and European medallist, he was also the first Irishman to win gold at the World championships. He would be handy source of advice for McGregor when it comes to crossing codes. And Conlan will help him out.
“He asked me would I come down and be a part of his camp. He would like me to be part of his camp for the fight if it happens. He didn’t even say if it happens, he said he would like me to be a part of the camp for the fight. I’m not saying I’m going to spar him or nothing. He wants me to come down and be part of it and experience it all with me. I think it’ll be a fantastic opportunity to go down and do that,” Michael said. “I definitely bring something to the table. I’d definitely be able to spot things, if things are wrong, if he’s throwing punches wrong, little things people who aren’t in boxing do naturally.
“There’s a lot of things I’d be able to give him pointers on, or tips on.” But he added, “I’m not going to say I’m going to teach him how to beat Floyd Mayweather!”