Forget St Patrick’s Day – March 17th could become known as Mick Conlan Day in New York suggests manager Matthew Macklin.
The Falls Road super bantamweight makes his professional debut tonight at the famous Theater at Madison Square Garden, facing TIm Ibarra over six.
‘Mack The Knife’ knows how special a day St Patricks Day is in New York and, more importantly, what it’s like to fight in the city on a day for all things Irish having faced Sergio Martinez at the MSG Theatre back in 2012.
The fighter he now manages sensationally makes his debut at the same venue on the same date, and the former European champion believes it won’t be the last time the Belfast talent competes in the city around March 17th.
Indeed, MTK boss Macklin believes Paddy’s Day could be for Conlan what Puerto Rican Day has proved for Miguel Cotto.
Fight legend Cotto, who was also promoted by Top Rank, regularly features in big fights in the big room at Madison Square Garden on the weekend of his country’s national day and Macklin suggests Conlan could do the same.
“Madison Square Garden was very important in building Cotto – he made it his home. And before he was at that pay-per-view level they brought him around on big-show undercards.
“When you realise how many Irish are in New York, it’s very fitting his pro debut is going to be at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day weekend. That’ll be his day going forward.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti who reiterated the outfit’s plans for annual Conlan cards in New York
“We will look to have an annual St. Patrick’s Day show with Conlan,” Moretti said. “We’ll look to hold that weekend for the next 10 to 12 years, hopefully.”
Conlan has expressed his desire to pushed toward the top as soon as possible, has stated he wants to retire in five years time and wants to have the most successful of Irish careers within that time frame.
Former Irish, European and British champion Macklin suggests Conlan won’t be moved as quick as fellow former amateur star Vasyl Lomachenko, but claims he won’t be held back.
“Because of his age and amateur pedigree, he’ll not be rushed but moved quickly Macklin added. With that level of ability, where he could fight for a world title in maybe two, three years.”
“It’s the perfect launch for what will eventually go down as the best Irish fighter of all time.
“If I can help guide his career, help him fulfil his potential and win a world title, it’ll certainly help make up for not getting over the line in my own career.”