Michael Conlan [16(8)-1(1)] was shocked to see some people question Miguel Marriaga [30(26)-5(1) and his choice of comeback opponent.
The Belfast featherweight takes on the three-time world title challenger at the SSE Arena on August 6.
Considering he’s shared the ring with the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicolas Walters and Oscar Valdez and is a renowned puncher, the Columbian looks more than just a solid return for a fighter who has just suffered a devastating knockout defeat.
However, much to Conlan’s surprise, some have questioned ‘The Scorpion’s’ credentials and wonder about his ability to test the Olympic medal winner.
“I saw some people talking sh!t about him and I’m saying ‘really’?” Conlan, who has seen firsthand what the 35-year-old is about, told Irish-boxing.com.
“I was there live for his fight with Oscar Valdez and I remember he gave Oscar hell. That was nominated for Fight of the Year. I know how tough he is and I know what he is capable of. He is a big big puncher and I’m going in with someone like that after being knocked out. I think It’s a good fight,,” he adds before suggesting he wins. “Still I think I go in there and box his ears off.”
Conlan points out he would have been forgiven for taking easier passage back to winning ways in his first fight since being dramatically stopped by Leigh Wood in March.
The 30-year-old also suggests he was under no pressure to choose the kind of name that may help him sell the ‘Return of the Mick’ card.
“I could have come back and fight a f*cking dick head or a nobody and probably still sell out the arena,” he adds. “But I’m going in against someone who is a known puncher, with 30 wins, 26 of them knockouts. I could have easily gone in with someone lesser if I’m honest.
“Instead I’m going in with someone who has fought at the top level and tested all the boys. He is like that bridge between that level, like someone you have to beat if you want to move on.”
“Wood’s fans weren’t worried, they were spittin at me” – @mickconlan11 talks treatment from Wood’s fans— Irish-Boxing.com (@Irishboxingcom) June 13, 2022
Catch the full interview below:https://t.co/hYaj7IUDzt
Mick is back in action bs Marriaga on August 6 in Belfast!@trboxing @ConlanBoxing #MichaelConlan #IrishBoxing pic.twitter.com/JxcmkTttCU
The recent WBA regular world title challenger is confident Marriaga can act as a gatekeeper and has the standing to help him jump straight back to world level.
He also suggests he may try to become only the second man to stop the experienced and battle-hardened fighter.
“I think it’s the right opponent, he has been in there with the big names, Lomo is the only one to stop him, so if I got the stoppage it would be a big big statement. That’s an aim, that’s something I might try to for. I could have had much easier fights but I want to get back into world title contention and I Marriaga is a great stepping stone to that.
“I could have sat around and waited and took more time but what’s the point. I lost in a fight where I was winning and I didn’t take much damage up and until the eleventh so there was no point in sitting around and licking my wounds. I’d rather get back in the ring and back to business and that’s where we are at.”