Michael Conlan’s pro opponents are a massive step down from those he is used to operating against – and that is both something he needs, and may have to get used to, suggests his brother and biggest fan Jamie.
The younger of the exciting pug duo became accustomed to pitting himself against the best in the World as a stand out amateur and his sparring under coach Manny Robles is also said to be world level, with the likes of Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno sharing the ring with him at The Rock Gym
The Belfast fighter, who some suggest is the best amateur we have ever produced, is at home with people in the opposite corner coming to do damage, while in his first two pro fights, both of which had massive event feel, he is face to face with the likes of which he has never seen.
In fairness to Top Rank, Conlan’s promoters, the Olympic medalists first two foes have been of a better standard than most new to the pro game, but like most early doors opponents they are tough, crafty and have Bear Grylls survival instincts.
Still Conlan has managed to stop both, but after the wins was disappointed with his displays against hard to look good against foes.
Big brother Jamie, who may wish to register a routine win when he returns to the squared circle on June 17th considering his recent wars , explains that is just his younger brother has always been a perfectionist.
The experienced pro and world title hopeful, who knows a thing or two about the pro learning curve, notes his bro isn’t too happy, but is himself more than content in the knowledge that the Top Rank hopeful is banking much-needed experience.
“The thing is with Mick, he demands perfection everyday whether it’s in sparring, on the track or fighting and by his own standards he won’t think the performance is good enough, but this is a game where you never stop learning and he needs to be in with them opponents that are only there to survive and frustrate you,” Jamie Conlan told Irish-Boxing.com after his brothers third round stoppage of Alfredo Chanez in Chicago.
“Chanez had never been stopped, although against lesser opposition than Michael, but he knew all the tricks to survive and ride shots. It’s new territory for Michael as he’s used to fighting high level amateurs who are trying to win and not trying to survive.”
“Even when sparring he is in with world class opposition that is there to work, so it’s a different experience for him,” he added before claiming he was impressed with the top of the bill display.
“Personally I thought he boxed better than his debut and that’s all you can really ask for from a young pro, slight improvements while growing and learning off the mistakes that you’re making. The first knockdown was excellent, gauging the range and timing to find the uppercut was brilliant.”
There wasn’t much fan or media criticism of Conlan’s displays to date. Indeed, quite the opposite.
However, some casual fans have picked up on the fighters low grading of his displays and, such is the profile of the fighter and the effort Top Rank are putting into making him a star name, that the kind of fight fans who only take interest come 15-0 time are getting to see the former World amateur number 1 in fights that are normally hidden on undercards.
Fellow Matthew Macklin managed puncher Jamie admits that the spotlight brings more scrutiny and pressure, but he believes that will all stand to the fighter with multi-weight World title hopeful.
“Top Rank are the best in the business in building a fighter and growing them into a star, so they know what’s best for how Michael will be moved along.”
“Topping bills in six round fights mean the fights are scrutinized a lot more than when you’re on an undercard. That brings added pressures in itself on top of the the media demands and then the pressures of the fight, but Top Rank are obviously thinking long term here.”
“They are getting Mick used to doing this [media work] so early in his career so when the big nights come hes not going in blind to the going on’s of big fight nights.”
“Some people are expecting him to this is a learning period in his career and expect him to be moved like Lomachenko instead he will be more than likely moved like Miguel Cotto, building and growing as a fighter over time.”
Michael Conlan will fight for a third time in Australia next month. For the first time as a pro he will be on an undercard and the fact it’s a Manny Pacquiao undercard suggests he may be able to perform away from the media glare.
However, his brother doesn’t think so.
“Even though he’s fighting on an undercard next, he’s chef support in a Stadium fight. He is fighting in front of approximately 52,000 and plenty will be there to see Mick, so once again he will be in a new territory.”
“The main thing is to continue learning and improving in the gym you’re never going to be able to please every body no matter what you do.”
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey speak to Jason Quigley on Episode 5 of The Irish Boxing Show: