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Boxing

Michael Conlan dazzles in MSG showdown v. Ruben Garcia Hernandez on St. Patrick’s Day

Conlan won his 11th fight in a row to start his pro career. He is hoping #12 is against Vladimir Nikitin

Heading into his third consecutive St. Patrick’s Day fight inside Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, Michael Conlan was determined to give his fans a show. While it wasn’t a fight many expected, it was enough to send the Irish crowd home happy.

Conlan (11-0) outclassed Ruben Garcia Hernandez in front of a sold-out crowd of over 3,700 fans, including those watching on ESPN+. The judges scored it a true unanimous decision win for Conlan, all three scoring it 100-93. The Irish came in droves to watch some competitive boxing, and Top Rank delivered with some of that and more. By the time the special attraction main event fight rolled around, it was electric inside MSG.

Flanked by pro wrestler Finn Balor, Conlin entered the arena and the entrance alone was worth the price of admission.

Throughout the entire contest, Conlan displayed his athleticism via his defense and his quick punches. Through six rounds, Conlan landed 144 punches to Hernandez’s 45. There were many combination shots that stunned Hernandez (24-4-2), who was able to keep the fight alive. At one point, Conlan’s hardest punch was below the belt of Hernandez, who needed a few minutes to catch his breath. That did not affect the psyche of Conlan, however, as he just kept on bringing the pain.

After the fight, Conlan called out Vladimir Nikitin for a rematch. The two faced off in the 2016 Olympics, with Nikitin coming out the winner in controversial fashion. The Russian won his fight earlier in the night against Juan Tapia, setting up a clash with the WBO Inter-continental Featherweight Champion.

“Vladimir (Nikitan), I know you’re here tonight,” Conlan stated. “We need to do it again for the fans. I need to write a wrong that shouldn’t have been written.”

While Conlan looked impressive, his game wasn’t as strong as many would like. His corner was yelling for him to throw some more jabs, which might have been a deciding factor in ending the fight early. As he continues to grow, Conlan will need to step it up. The competition in the featherweight division is extremely strong, and plenty of fighters are seeing through his flaws. In a years time, he may very well face tougher competition. That will decide whether he truly is the real deal that Bob Arum has promoted.

Conlan once again proved he’s a draw in New York, with fans firmly behind him. After Sweet Caroline and Shipping Up To Boston blared through the speakers of the Hulu Theater, he kept the party going. After tonight, the next steps for the potential future of boxing will be crucial.

Daniel Yanofsky

Daniel Yanofsky

Daniel is a Managing Editor at DoubleGSports.com, and covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). He is also the lead New York Mets writer. When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a Sunday podcast, The Main Event.
Daniel Yanofsky
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