Michael Conlan and Alex Saucedo: Youth leads the charge
Michael Conlan and Alex Saucedo may both be unbeaten but they represent everything that is Top Rank over the last several months. Both are young but their ability and marketability have Top Rank very high on them.
Conlan will face Alfredo Chanez of Mexico in a six-round junior featherweight bout tonight at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. Welterweight Alex Saucedo will square off in a six-round bout against Wilberth Lopez.
Both fights, along with the 10-round welterweight bout between Mike Alvarado and Matthew Strode, will air on UniMas, beginning at 11 p.m. ET/ PT.
Conlan (1-0, 1 knockout) made his pro debut with much fanfare on March 17, stopping Tim Ibarra in round three before a sold-out crowd of 5,200 inside The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The 25-year-old Conlan, who represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has seen his popularity skyrocket in recent months. One of the reasons is his marketability, which will include fighting in major cities in the U.S. and abroad.
Conlan is penciled to fight July 2 in Brisbane, Australia on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight. So far, Conlan, who is trained by Manuel “Manny” Robles, has enjoyed the limelight.
“It’s been fantastic (so far),” said Conlan. “I’m really happy to be back in Chicago. (Chicago) reminds me a great deal of Ireland. I’m sure the UIC Pavilion will be filled with a predominantly Irish crowd. I’m hoping it’s a great atmosphere like we had in New York City.
“The support here in the States has been fantastic. I’m getting more fans every day contacting me on social media, especially in Chicago. It’s great to see all these people that just want to watch a kid from Belfast fight.”
Chanez (4-4, 2 KOs), who resides in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, has lost his last two bouts.
Saucedo (24-0, 15 KOs) stopped Johnny Garcia in his most recent bout on March 17. Saucedo, who resides in Oklahoma City, is now training in Big Bear Lake, California with Abel Sanchez. Lopez (18-7, 13 KOs) has won his last three bouts, all by stoppage.
Saucedo’s skill-set has steadily improved over the last several months, impressing those at Top Rank. He hopes to land a big-money fight later this year, even if it’s against another top fighter under the same promotion.
“I hope everything comes out OK (tonight) because I want to keep my options open for future fights,” said the 22-year-old Saucedo. “Whether it’s a fight against Jose Ramirez or someone who can take me to the next level. We’re both young. We’re both undefeated. We both want to prove who the best young fighter is at 140 pounds.”
Alvarado (36-4, 24 KOs) won a hard-fought eight-round majority decision over Joshua Torres on June 25. The Denver area resident has won his last two bouts.
Strode (24-4, 9 KOs), from Greensboro, North Carolina, has lost his last two bouts.
Also fighting on the Top Rank card, undefeated welterweight Egidijus Kavaliauskas (16-0, 13 KOs) will face Daniel Echeverria (19-4, 17 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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