Mick Conlan: A finger points toward Madison Square Garden
The love affair started when the kid heard the other guy’s name announced as the winner after their bantamweight bout at the most recent Summer Olympic Games, in Rio, and reacted off the cuff with extreme disgust.
Michael “Mick” Conlan, the lad from Ireland who’d just boxed the ears off Vladimir Nikitin, flipped off the three judges with a one-fingered salute, on both hands, right after the shocking news was announced.
And Conlan, a 25-year-old from Belfast, didn’t calm down after that quarterfinal gut-shot. He stripped off his shirt, seeking to remove the corrosive touch of the event, and what he branded corruption, as soon as possible. He then poured out his heart and hurting soul to the interviewer who asked his feelings at that moment. “Effin cheats,” he called the judges, while smearing the oversight body which handles boxing at the Games, the AIBA. “My dreams been shattered now,” he stated.
Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum loves a good flip of the bird. He is known to be as unfiltered as Conlan, speaking his mind in no uncertain terms, and is unafraid to drop an F-bomb or 12, if so moved. Therefore, Top Rank made a hard and fast move and looked to sign up Conlan to a pro deal after the Olympics. He was their “number one draft pick,” basically, and they will trot him out in grand fashion for his pro debut. Conlan will debut as a headliner, atop a Top Rank fight card at the Madison Square Garden Theater on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. He will scrap as a junior featherweight, in a six-round bout against Tim Ibarra (4-4, 1 knockouts).
A press conference featuring Conlan was held today, Wednesday, at MSG, to show off the cause celebrate to the media and prime the pump for the St. Paddy’s program. Top Rank President Todd duBoef said Arum has virtually adopted Conlan and has boasted for weeks on end about how plucky the kid is, how he’s basically a chip off the old block. Conlan showed his charisma, most definitely, when he took to the mic after Top Rank’s Vice President of Boxing Operations Carl Moretti kicked off the presser and duBoef told all how entranced Arum is. Conlan said, “Come March 17, it’s going to be special. The debut is going to be something else. The entrances, everything that’s going to happen is going to be something you haven’t seen before.”
His manager, ex-middleweight contender Matthew Macklin, who now manages about 100 boxers, had told me Tuesday on the Everlast podcast “TALKBOX” that MMA ace, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor will walk Conlan out to the ring, come fight night. Conlan drew chuckles when he said, “I spoke to MSG executive Joel Fisher in the back and I said, ‘You gotta make sure you have enough alcohol. I heard they ran out of alcohol when John Duddy was here before because we’ve got a lot of really Irish people coming over, they do a bit of drinking, so…”
Love it. The sport NEEDS charisma and athletes who can keep people talking. Conlan can box more than a bit, no matter what some idiot judges told you at the Olympics. And he can stir the pot with his mouth, too, so put him on your watch list. The same goes for breweries. Might want to put Conlan on your watch list – as an endorser!
Michael Woods tried the nickname “Mick” once. It all came to a crashing halt once he sported the spiky hair wig, the chain-and-padlock necklace, shades, skinny jeans, a bass guitar (with only two strings, mind you) and a lit cigarette dangling from his mush. We have to draw the line somewhere, Woodsy.
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