Michael Conlan vs. Ibon Larrinaga – Results
By Scott Gilfoid: Featherweight prospect Michael Conlan (7-0, 5 KOs) picked up his seventh win of his 1-year pro career in defeating Ibon Larrinaga (10-2, 2 KOs) by an 8 round unanimous decision on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Conlan won the fight by the scores 80-72, 80-72 and 80-72. Those were fair scores. Boxing News were had it was whitewash for the unbeaten 26-year-old 2016 Olympic bronze medalist from Ireland. Conlan connected with pretty much everything he wanted against the overmatched Spaniard Larrinaga. It wasn’t much of a fight though, as Larrinaga never even tried to win the fight. He was just to survive for 8 rounds to see the final bell, and he accomplished that task.
Conlan was landing his rights and lefts almost at will in the fight, but his lack of punching power and hand speed allowed Larrinaga to absorb the blows without any problems. The movement of Larrinaga kept Conlan from getting his shots off the way he needed for him to have a chance of scoring a knockout.
Larrinaga didn’t have the punching power, hand speed or the defensive skills to post himself in front of Conlan. If the Irish fighter wants an opponent that will stand and trade with him for 12 rounds, then he needs to get his promoters at Top Rank to schedule a fight against Joseph Diaz, Gary Russell Jr., Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Oscar Valdez, Scott Quigg, Carl Frampton and Nonito Donaire. Those fighters would gladly stand and trade with Conlan, and likely beat him quite easily.
“It’s an amazing arena and to be part of that history and be treated like part of the Madison Square Garden family is very, very special,” Conlan said via ESPN.com. “It’s always going to be hard to look good against a guy who is backing up, but I’m happy because I was composed and working on things I need to work on. I’ve only had seven pro fights, so this was a good learning experience,” Conlan said.
Conlan seemed to lose his temper a number of times in the fight with the tactics that Larrinaga was using. It was easy to tell when Conlan was angry or annoyed would tend to foul when annoyed by hitting and holding, shoving and hitting Larrinaga point blank to the head during the clinch. The anger seemed to work against Conlan, because Larrinaga had his best success with the Irish fighter’s kettle was boiling over. That’s something that Conlan is going to need to fix in the future, because if he fights someone like Gary Russell Jr. while angry, he’s going to get blasted out. Heck, Conlan will probably lose to Russell Jr. even if he’s calm, cool and collective. Conlan is not on Russell’s level in my opinion.
The things Conlan needs to work on for his next fight are these things:
• Punching power
• Hand speed
• Combination punching
• Keeping guard high
• Stay calm – don’t lose temper
Conlan, who fought in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, had a lot of his Irish boxing fans ringside to see him last Saturday night in New York, rooting him on and wanting to see him knockout his over-matched opponent. When Conlan failed to score a knockout, his boxing fans were quiet afterwards rather than cheering.
There wasn’t much for Conlan’s fans to cheer during the fight because he fought in a slow, mechanical way, throwing slow jabs, left and right hands. Everything was single shots from Conlan. The reason for this is because he doesn’t have fast hands. So when Conlan did throw combinations in the fight, Larrinaga would hit him and make him look bad. Conlan obviously didn’t want to look bad in front of his own fans, so he limited his shots to one at a time.
Conlan was visibly frustrated by the lack of ambition by Larrinaga. He wanted him to stand and fight, but the 27-year-old Larrinaga had no interest in obliging him. In round 4, Conlan rudely threw Larrinaga to the canvas when he attempted to clinch. In the same round, Conlan put Larrinaga in a headlock and nailed him with a shot to the head. It was stuff like this from Conlan that revealed how fed up he was with Larrinaga’s lack of fighting instinct. But Conlan shouldn’t have been surprised that his opponent wasn’t trying to make a fight of it. After all, this was a mismatch on paper, and it was never intended on being a competitive fight in the real sense.
Larrinaga doesn’t have the same kind of pedigree as Conlan. He was brought into the fight as the B-side opponent to make Conlan look good, and to give him some practice. The fact that Larrinaga had recently been knocked out in the 2nd round in December 2017 by a fighter named Aritz Pardal (12-2-1, 10 KOs) said all there was to know about this fight. Larrinaga was the fodder opponent for Conlan to beat.
It’s kind of troubling that Conlan wasn’t able to knockout Larrinaga when a limited fighter in Pardal was able to do so quite easily. Conlan isn’t a puncher. It took only 30 seconds of the 1st round to see that Conlan can’t punch, and he doesn’t throw combinations. Most everything Conlan throws is single shots without hand speed.
Conlan is slow, weak, and he has a bad habit of fighting with his hands down by his sides. In a word, Conlan is FLAWED. Conlan wanted Larrinaga to engage, but why should he. It was a mismatch, so the Spanish fighter did what he had to do for him to survive the full 8 rounds. You can’t blame him for that. You can blame Conlan’s management for picking Larrinaga as the opponent. They should have signed the guy that knocked Larrinaga out in 2 rounds in Aritz Pardal. That would have made a lot more sense.
Larrinaga took Conlan’s best shots, and blocked many others with his gloves and arms. It wasn’t remarkable that Larrinaga was able to handle Conlan’s power. It was more of a case of him being able to handle the power of a guy that isn’t a big puncher.
Conlan will be fighting next on June 30 against an opponent that is still to be determined at the Odyssey Arena, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This will be a home fight for the Irish Conlan, who has never fought in his home country since he turned pro last year in 2017.
.“The better the opponent I face, the better I become,” Conlan said. ”I’m dying for an opponent to come towards me. I want to face someone who’s trying to win in Belfast. I didn’t put in an amazing performance last night but it just makes me want to get straight back in the gym and start getting ready for Belfast. I’m going to put on a great show.”
If Conlan is serious about wanting to fight a good opponent, then he needs to lean on his promoters at Top Rank and encourage them to select someone like Nonito Donaire, Genesis Servania, Kiko Martinez, Joseph Diaz, Jezreel Corrales, Tevin Farmer, Christopher Diaz or Gervonta Davis. I know some of those fighters compete in the super featherweight division, but I think they’d gladly fight Conlan for a big enough payday. At least Conlan couldn’t complain that his opponent didn’t come to fight.
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