Michael Conlan has pointed to expectation, pressure, an off performance and a stellar champion as factors in his heartbreaking loss to Luis Alberto Lopez.
The Belfast bout saw Conlan step up to challenge for the Mexican’s IBF Featherweight World title, but a devastating fifth-round right uppercut saw it end in defeat.
Speaking to Boxing Social, the fan-favourite fighter said that, from the first bell, he fought the wrong fight.
“I’m still devastated. Probably filled with a little bit of regret, as it wasn’t me in there … I put an awful lot of pressure on myself … The game plan was out the window – I don’t know what it was with me. I can’t put my finger on it. I just didn’t stick to anything, tried to go to war from round one.”
Conlan was quick to say that he wasn’t taking anything away from Lopez – a man all fans knew spelled danger from the first with spiteful punches and an awkward style.
The towel came in from trainer Adam Booth just as the referee was waving off proceedings – something the 31-year-old believes was the right call.
“It was a good call, because Adam knew I wasn’t at the races. He knew I wasn’t there and he said in the round before ‘if you don’t f***ing change what you’re doing I’m gonna stop this fight.'”
As for what’s next, Conlan admitted that retirement was on his mind in the immediate aftermath. Some more contemplation shrunk that plan in favour of carrying on.
“After the fight I was like ‘f**k this, can’t be doing it no more, I’m finished’ king of thing, but the more I’ve sat and dwelled on stuff I don’t think so. I’ll still take time to make the final decision, but at the minute I’m just about to go a run.”
Asked if he can still become a world champion, he answered ‘yes, definitely.’