Matthew Macklin believes Michael Conlan become the “people’s champion” and the biggest draws on America’s east coast since John Duddy.
Such is Conlan’s growing popularity among the Irish community in America, and New York in particular, that Conlan’s manager, Macklin, is confident that the bantamweight is on his way to being a huge star.
“Michael is going to be the peoples’ champion,” said Macklin, who has drawn on his own contacts in New York to promote Conlan to the city’s Irish community.
“You want him to have that kind of touch with the Irish community in New York. We brought Michael around, introduced him and got everyone behind him.”
The London 2012 Bronze medallist and former world and European amateur champion has won his first three professional fights, including a winning debut on St Patrick’s Day in New York, when he stopped Tim Ibarra.
Hype and pressure
“There was so much hype and pressure his pro debut was bigger than a lot of world title fights,” said Macklin.
“To headline at Madison Square Garden and all the hype and the promotional activity we had to undertake the week leading up to the fight, it was a lot to take on.
“He was fighting a guy he should comfortably beat, and he did, but he didn’t box as well as he could. He tried too hard and was looking for the knock out, and got a little bit overexcited, but anyone can forgive him that given the build up. It was such a huge fight for him.”
Macklin expects Conlan to fight three more times before the year is out, in Arizona on 22 September, in his hometown of Belfast on 18 November and then in New York in December.
“Top Rank’s plans for him, and my plans, are that he not only goes on to be a world champion, but becomes a big star. He has star quality,” added Macklin.
“He’s already got a massive profile and Top Rank are really giving him the red carpet treatment. They’re putting everything behind him.
“Michael’s really dedicated; he’s over there with his partner and child, and I think he’s going to have a very big future.”