It’s a bold statement, but one Top Rank President Todd duBoef makes with great confidence.
Not only does the experienced star-maker believe the Belfast fighter, who debuts in the Theatre at Madison Square Garden on St Patricks Day, has the talent and marketability, but duBoef is confident he has the right plan to ensure the two time Olympian becomes one of boxing’s biggest names.
Indeed, to in order to help Conlan “revolutionise” the sport Stateside, duBoef plans to revolutionise the way Irish and British fighters approach the age-old question of ‘cracking America.’
“We look for two things, ability and marketability, and he has both,” one of Top Ranks Top men said.
“This is probably the biggest launch for us to take somebody who was not American-born or Hispanic, and take somebody who has a very rich culture in Europe, and move him to the United States.”
“We really believe this is an important part for a revival of American boxing. A classy, excellent boxer, and the publicity after the Olympics just blew me away.”
“He has all the attributes to be a superstar and we really believe we can do it.”
There is something different about Conlan. He was part of an High Performance team that won medals of note around the World, but was always deemed as the one who could go on a have a Carl Frampton effect when he turned over.
That ‘something different’ will be carried over into how the London 2012 fighter is promoted claims duBeof.
Bob Arum’s right hand man is adamant they need to build Conlan in America from the off, and feels following the more common model of becoming a star at home then trying to crack America is the wrong way to do it.
Although Irish fight fans will argue it’s a path Wayne McCullough, Jason Quigley, and even Bernard Dunne took duBeoff claims they are ‘flipping things around’. Also Conlan will top the bill on his debut something which most of the biggest names in the sport didn’t manage. The American promotional giant are also keen to ensure that the Irish people still feel part of the journey.
The 24 year old former World amateur champ’s ‘revolution’ will be televised, and his fights will be broadcast back in Ireland, plus he will fight at home once a year.
“He has the marketability, you can just see it,” he added.
“He has this swagger, this presence, and I think that I wanted to get that [to the American audience] early. I didn’t want it to be late. What happens is when it gets late it’s really hard because they are reaping a lot of success from where ever they are abroad and when they come to America it’s almost like a reset they have to start over. This is the right way to do it bring him to America and launch him in the States first.”
“There a lot of things that come into the equation. We have seen a lot of the Latin Americans start in the United States and that’s largely because we have a big Latin culture in the United States. So to me it was ‘what is the difference’? Well there is no difference Michael can start there to,” he added before suggesting he was afraid home comforts and the success of boxing in the UK in recent years may have meant Conlan wouldn’t have signed with them.
“On the other hand you have a very robust market over here. My challenge was could I convince them [Team Conlan] can I turn this thing upside down. Not get spoiled doing well at home, wake up in your bed, walk the streets you did as a child, to look beyond that and look at the big game. We all know the US media market creates the most money at the end of the day.”
The boxing big gun also suggested their is a Great White Hope element to the Belfast star. It may not be something Irish fight fans are aware of or even care about, but it seems America is broken into markets and deBoeuf described at the top table that American boxing fans are waiting for a native English-speaking European fighter.
He expanded on the topic when one-on-one with the press, explaining that “with the social media chain it will be easy to get the Irish American’s on board. To get him mainstream takes a little more time, but we feel confident. I think the American market is ready for one of their own to really come onto the scene and do that. We haven’t seen it in a long long time and Micheal has all the attributes to do it.”