BRISBANE, Australia – Irish Olympic star Michael Conlan isn’t expecting a long main event on Sunday.
Conlan, who fights a six-rounder against local fighter Jarrett Owen (5-4-3, 2 knockouts) on the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn undercard at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, says he’d like to see a competitive fight but doubt that transpires.
“I think it doesn’t go past six rounds, if I’m honest,” Conlan (2-0, 2 KOs) says. “I’d like to see Jeff Horn give it a go but Manny Pacquiao is levels above.
“Manny Pacquiao is one of my favorite fighters of all time. It’s an honor to be on his undercard. I’m really looking forward to seeing him work in the flesh.”
— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) June 30, 2017
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) is a massive favorite to retain his WBO welterweight title over the hometown bet Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs). Conlan’s opinion aligns with IBF junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, who expects Pacquiao to be too much for the 29-year-old Horn.
“I don’t think Horn will be able to keep up with the strength of Sir Manny,” says Ancajas, who will defend his title in the co-featured bout against mandatory challenger Teiru Kinoshita. “Because I saw (Pacquiao’s) training and it seems nothing has changed with Sir Manny.”
The junior featherweight Conlan has kept a busy schedule since turning pro in March after his disappointing exit from the 2016 Olympics, which put the controversial scoring in the spotlight in Brazil. Conlan says he’s expecting to be back in action on September 22, after this fight.
When asked if he scouts opponents at this preliminary level of his career, Conlan says he mostly puts faith in his trainers and the matchmakers at Top Rank to make his fights, and says he only watches a round or two of their footage. He expects about 5,000-to-6,000 fans from the Irish community in Australia to turn out to the fight.
“It’s gonna feel like I’m fighting at home,” said Conlan, who is now trained by Manny Robles in California.
Asked about his iconic middle finger gesture to the Olympics judges, he said he regretted it shortly after the moment but embraced it, once his protest went viral.
“To be honest, for the first four hours after, I was like, ‘What have I done?’” reveals Conlan. “I was worried. Nobody’s gonna wanna come near me now. But then a few hours after, my social media just didn’t stop. My followers went from 30,000 to 90,000. It was unbelievable. It just took off.
“The promoters came knocking; Top Rank came knocking and that was the one that I couldn’t knock back.”
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.
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Source:: The Ring – Boxing