Though he was clipped a few times in the opening round, Michael Conlan turned in perhaps the most polished and measured performance of his professional career thus far on Saturday night, topping durable Argentine Luis Fernando Molina via unanimous decision over six rounds in New York.
Returning to the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the venue where he made his professional debut amid crazy scenes back in March, Conlan looked like a much more mature fighter. He immediately began popping his left jab in Molina’s face from the outset. The shot produced a satisfying and solid thud with seemingly little effort. After taking those aforementioned shots early on though, Conlan switched to southpaw and remained there for much of the remainder of the fight. The jab still displayed the same pop off of the right side and Conlan looked much more comfortable defensively, controlling the distance beautifully with the lead hand and going to the body with a nice long left hook.
@mickconlan11 looking sharp af 🍀
— Sergio Mora (@TheLatinSnake_) December 10, 2017
The Belfast native was in complete command of the fight from then on and really seemed to enjoy his work. After the third round, Conlan did a little dance to the house music. He didn’t exactly put one in mind of Fred Astaire.
“Can’t dance to save his life, can he?” said Barry Jones on the BoxNation broadcast.
No matter, Conlan is plenty capable with his feet in a boxing context.
After the fourth, a round in which Conlan regularly landed the straight left hand to Molina’s head, the referee brought the doctor in to examine the rugged and still game 29-year-old. It seemed like a strange call, as Molina had never looked stunned or hurt in any way and while he was being thoroughly outboxed, the fight hadn’t turned into a violent procession.
Molina marched straight back out into the ring after the doctor gave him the all clear and onto some of the most thumping shots of the bout, a straight left hand followed shortly after by a sweet right uppercut. Later in the round, Conlan landed an even prettier and more hurtful uppercut off the other hand. The Irishman upped the pace as the round went on, perhaps sensing that Molina was waning a little.
But Molina, who had never been stopped in eleven previous contests, hung tough and saw out the fifth and a slightly less painful but still one-sided sixth to hear the final bell.
Conlan, who had never before been passed the third round as a pro, was a shut-out winner on all three judges’ scorecards. With the win, he moved to 5-0 in the paid ranks.
Post-fight, Conlan said that he was happy to get the rounds in and despite suggesting that he hurt his left hand in the third, announced that his next fight will be back at the Garden on March 17th – St. Patrick’s day.
Here is a sample of the reaction to Conlan’s win…
Congrats @mickconlan11 great win tonight , onwards and upwards great performance 🥊🇮🇪
— Jason Quigley (@jay_quigley) December 10, 2017
— Chris Suitor GGG – SuitorBros (@SuitorBrothers) December 10, 2017
Michael Conlan's career peaked with the bird flipping and he's going to trade off it for the rest of his life.
— Alex McClintock (@axmcc) December 10, 2017
I would love to see an Olympian fighter like @mickconlan11 fighting me with his hands down like he’s doing now
— Carlos Pote Vidal (@carlospotevidal) December 10, 2017
@mickconlan11 very impressive earlier. Fighting the majority of the fight Southpaw. Getting better every fight. 👊🇮🇪
— Derek Donohoe (@Derek_Donohoe) December 10, 2017
Michael Conlan easy win!🍀🥗 St. Patrick’s Day next fight! 5-0 now!
— Irish Today (@irish_today) December 10, 2017
— Teresa Conlan (@tconlan93) December 10, 2017
@mickconlan11 looking very relaxed and fluid tonight 👌
— Enzo Maccarinelli (@theRealEnzoMac) December 10, 2017
— MTK Global 🌍 (@MTKGlobal) December 10, 2017
Complete control from Michael Conlan. Could have finished it at any point after the second but wanted the rounds.
— Tony Mogan (@TonyMogan) December 10, 2017
Well done @mickconlan11. Looked so comfortable and very impressive. Great stuff! 🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪
— Dave O'Grady (@DaveOGrady1) December 10, 2017
Great win for @mickconlan11 tonight. Always love supporting my fellow countrymen especially when they're fighting in the USA! 🥊
— Wayne McCullough OLY 🥊 (@WayneMcCullough) December 10, 2017
— Paul D Gibson (@PaulieDGibson) December 10, 2017
— Derek McKenna (@DerekMcKenna) December 10, 2017
Great stuff from @mickconlan11 – real world class fighter!
— Tony Jeffries OLY (@Tony_Jeffries) December 10, 2017
Amazing win @mickconlan11 Irelands next combat sports superstar 💥
— Paul Hughes MMA (@paulhughesmma) December 10, 2017
— Craig Webster (@CraigW3b) December 10, 2017