Monday 18 December 2017

Conlan needs step up to show off skills - Macklin

England’s Kell Brook in action during his defeat against Errol Spence in Sheffield on Saturday. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters
England’s Kell Brook in action during his defeat against Errol Spence in Sheffield on Saturday. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters

Ciarán Gallagher

Matthew Macklin believes Michael Conlan needs to face a step up in class before he can show off the best of his skills.

Conlan boosted his professional record to 2-0 with a dominant third-round stoppage win over Mexican journeyman Alfredo Chanez in Chicago last Friday night.

However, the Belfast native struggled to find his rhythm against the awkward Chanez, who continually looked to spoil the featherweight fight before Conlan halted his foe with two right hooks to the body.

With the 25-year-old Irishman having now recorded two third-round stoppages over journeymen - after his debut win over American Tim Ibarra last March - his manager Macklin believes the former world amateur champion needs to face better opponents.

"I'd like him to get a step up now," said Macklin. "I'm not saying he should be fighting a killer next or anything like that in the Top 10, but someone who is coming with ambition - someone with a winning record even if they aren't a world beater, someone who wants to win.

"That's when we'll see the best of Michael Conlan, when someone is trying to beat him, not someone who's hell bent on surviving."

Conlan is set to fight on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao's July 2 world welterweight title defence in Brisbane. It is understood that former Australian title challenger Jarrett Owen will be the Irishman's opponent for the support bout.

While the 31-year-old will not match up to Conlan's elite amateur opposition - or indeed the quality of many of his sparring partners in the US - Owen does at least carry a modest, but winning, 5-4-3 record.

"He's been sparring world champions and recently he sparred a guy who's in the Top 10 and Mick battered him," said Macklin on his protégé.

"He's probably going down 10 levels against guys like Chanez.

"You're coming in, topping the bill, and then there's a raucous crowd for Mick and the opponents s**t themselves!

"In fairness, when I seen a video of the opponent (Chanez) in his other fights, he was game and he was coming forward throwing shots. "But the occasion probably got to him and he half bottled it. Once Mick caught him with a clean shot then the opponent just didn't want to know."

Irish Independent

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