Michael Conlan says Leigh Wood made bad business decision fighting Mauricio Lara

By Boxing News - 02/20/2023 - Comments

By Barry Holbrook: Michael Conlan says Leigh Wood & his trainer Ben Davison made a bad business move by choosing to face Mauricio Lara rather than fighting him or another fighter in a more lucrative match-up. The two-time Irish Olympian Conlan feels that was one of the “worst business moves” he’s seen in boxing.

It’s unclear if Davison is the one that chooses Lara as the opponent forĀ  Wood or if his manager did. The way that Davison talked about his belief that Conlan was a tougher fight for Wood than Lara would seem to suggest that he was the one that chose the Mexican fighter.

Moreover, Davison saying that Lara and Kiko Martinez are at the same level threat-wise also suggests that he picked him. Anyone that had seen Kiko in his recent knockout loss to Josh Warrington would know right away that he’s not on the same level as Lara, yet Davison believed he was.

Wood could have made more money in a rematch with Conlan than he did against Lara, yet he chose not to. Perhaps Wood knew how tough a second fight with Conlan would be after getting outboxed by him through most of their battle last March.

Conlan was ahead on the scorecards going into the 12th round when Wood pulled out the victory with a knockout.

Conlan doesn’t understand what Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) and Davison were thinking by picking a dangerous puncher like Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs) for a title defense of his WBA featherweight belt last Saturday night in Nottingham, England.

Against a fighter like Lara, Wood must be switched on the entire time; as soon as he lost concentration or made a foolish move, he would be knocked out. That’s precisely what happened. Wood switched off in the seventh round and tried to hook with a hooker and got knocked out.

Wood made a crazy business decision

“The craziest thing about the whole thing was Leigh and Ben [Davison] actually picking a hard fight. That’s the craziest thing of all. They didn’t need to do it, and I think from a business standpoint or boxing management standpoint, it’s probably one of the worst moves that has been made in boxing,” said Michael Conlan to Boxing Social about Leigh Wood & his trainer Ben Davison’s decision to choose Mauricio Lara for a voluntary title defense.

“He was [winning the fight against Lara comfortably]. He did very, very well, but that’s the problem with that fight. If he switched off, he was going to get done. What happened was he switched off.

“From where I come from, why the f**k would you do that when you can go, ‘Let’s have a rematch with Conlan. Let’s have the Conlan rematch, make double the money, and put in a rematch clause so if I lose, I’ll get another big payday, and I’ll set my family up for life.’ F**k what people think; let’s be honest.

YouTube video

“He’s got to think about his family because the fans, the support, and how to be remembered does not put bread or food on your table. It doesn’t do that. It doesn’t put stuff on your table and doesn’t look after your family when you’re gone.

“You got to be smart in this game because it’s a ruthless game. People are in it for themselves. People don’t make the right decisions for people. The person that’s thought of last is the fighter.

“I think Leigh and his team, Ben [Davison] and are managing Leigh’s career; they just made a very, very silly move instead of a smart business move,” said Conlan.

“Financially, it would be massive for both of us, so I think I would be chomping at the bit for that one.”