By Anthony "Zute" George
Michael Conlan showed how much star power he has, as he headlined a card in New York City that showcased a more than meaningful 140-Pound title fight. Conlan also showed he could fight a little bit, as he stopped David Berna at 1:00 of the second round, in front of a raucous crowd on St. Patrick’s Day.
Conlan started the fight off showcasing lateral movement and giving feints with his jab. Berna appeared to be in survival mode from the get-go, as he did not show any gumption to land anything of substance; Conlan missed badly with an overhand right, which left him in a vulnerable position and Berna did nothing to make Conlan pay.
With about a minute and a half let in round one, Conlan switched to southpaw. Perhaps this switch was in the plans, as Conlan has switched in previous fights, however, the switch might have been spontaneous, as Conlan knew he had a stoic opponent in front of him and he wanted to experiment.
Whatever the reason, the switch paid dividends, as Conlan dropped Berna with a body shot at the end of the first round. The fight was soon over in the second round, as Conlan dropped Berna again and was saved my referee Eddie Claudio shortly after.
Conlan was in a joyous mood after the bout. In his last fight he went the distance for the first time in his career, against Luis Fernando Molina. It was a circumstance that did not sit well with Conlan, as he likes to make it a point to finish his opponents. Conlan also expressed how he has felt he has improved immensely since his pro debut last St. Patrick’s Day. Conlan may feel that way, however, we need to see more evidence to concur.
Since Conlan’s step-up in competition has been minimal at best, it is hard to determine just how much Conlan has improved as a professional pugilist. When he switched to southpaw, while he had more power in his left hand, he looked awkward and his punches were telegraphed. At the very least, Conlan has to fight someone that has the know how to try and make him pay, after Conlan misses badly with a power punch.
What we saw last night from Conlan is what we already know about him. He has immense potential and does not like the judges to have a voice in his fights. The Featherweight division has some killers in it, Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr., Lee Selby, Oscar Valdez, Carl Frampton, just to name a few. If Michael Conlan wants to be ready to challenge these fighters, Top Rank must stop giving him these soft touches. With the win, Conlan improves to 6-0, 5 KO’s, while Berna falls to 15-3, 14 KO’s.
On the undercard Oleksandr Gvozdyck did have a tough test, when he squared off against veteran Mehdi Amar. While Gvozdyck won a wide unanimous decision, scorecards read 117-111, 116-112 and 118-110, Amar came to fight. Amar stood up to some hellacious blows and tried to fight back every time he was hurt. Gvozdyck also had to deal with a closing right eye for a good portion of the bout.
For his efforts, Gvodyck captures the WBC Light-Heavyweight Title and improves to 15-0, 12 KO’s, while Amar falls to 34-6-2, 12 KO’s.
The light-heavyweight division is top heavy, and Gvozdyck, as a consummate pro with heavy hands, proved he can fit in nicely with the top fighters in the division. The big problem is that none of the other top light heavyweights fight for Don King, but for companies not willing to fight a Top Rank fighter, the company Gvozdyck fights for.
Indeed, every time we have some promise in boxing, nonsense, oh I mean politics, oh I mean business, no, I mean NONSENSE, appears to get in the way.
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