Michael Conlan has had his say on his former foe Leigh Wood’s next fight.
The Ulsterman returned to the ring earlier this month after being beaten for the first time in his career earlier this year.
Conlan dominated Miguel Marriaga at the SSE Arena in Belfast, getting back to winning ways after dramatically being knocked out of the ring at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.
The 30-year-old dropped WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion Wood when he was challenging for the title back in March, only to be spectacularly knocked out by big-punching ‘Leigh-thal’ in the final of 12 rounds.
‘MC’ secured a unanimous decision victory (99-88, 98-88, 99-89) over experienced Colombian Marriaga as he revived his hopes of another potential world title fight in the future.
But he reckons the aforementioned Wood has made a drastic error in the selection of his next opponent.
The Ben Davison-trained fighter will be back on September 24, exclusively live on DAZN, at the scene of his knockout victory against Conlan when he takes on 24-year-old Mauricio Lara.
Lara (24-2-1, 17 KOs) is best known to UK fight fans for sensationally beating then-ex IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington, stopping him in the ninth round after dropping him twice in their first fight before their rematch, last September, ended in a technical draw after two rounds with the Mexican puncher unable to continue due to a bad cut over the left eye due to a head clash.
Conlan spoke to Boxing Social about Wood’s opponent selection.
“I think it’s a crazy fight, a silly fight, a pointless fight.
“What’s the point of fighting Lara? What does he get for beating Lara? Does he beat Lara? In my opinion, no. I think he gets flattened.”
Prior to the announcement of Wood’s fight against Lara, which tops a great night of action in Nottingham as Terri Harper challenges Hannah Rankin for the WBA and IBO titles up at super-welterweight and former IBF featherweight champion Kid Galahad looks to get back on the horse –– following his knockout defeat at the hands of Kiko Martinez last November at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield — by taking on Maxi Hughes for the lather’s IBO lightweight crown, rumours were swirling that a fight between Wood and the aforementioned Warrington was in the works, with Davison calling the fight “ginormous”.
But Warrington looks set to face his mandatory challenger next, leaving Eddie Hearn –– Warrington and Wood’s promoter –– with Mauricio Lara as a potential foe after the mutual step-aside deal between Wood and WBA Super world champion Leo Santa Cruz.
“I know he’d get double for fighting me in a rematch. Probably more than double fighting me in a rematch. I don’t understand it. It’s a crazy choice. Fair play for him taking it.
“It’s a tough fight, but I think he’s a bit slow. I don’t think he’s clued in business-wise and not making smart business moves. He’s on about setting his family up and doing this here in the sport and having big meaningful fights.
“I think the [Conlan] rematch is more meaningful and bigger than the Lara fight. I think if you want to earn money and set your family up for life, the rematch is the better fight to take. It’s more money, it’s an awful lot more money. So, he’s probably done himself a few million there really.
“I don’t understand it, but credit to him for fighting Lara. I don’t think it’s solely his choice. It’s more so his coach’s ego in the way.
“I know I was told that his coach doesn’t want to give me the rematch because they disrespected me and my brother in the last build-up because he got disrespected.
“His coach’s ego has gotten in the way of him earning a few million. It’s silly. If not, he wants to fight someone like Lara to prove something for nothing. Fair play to him.”