By: Sean Crose
When Michael “Mick” Conlon made his professional boxing debut on Saint Patrick’s Day, 2017, it caused quite the to do. Not only had the popular Irish armature been a top find for Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, but Conlon was walked into the ring at Madison Square Garden that night by none other than fellow Irishman Conor McGregor, the enormously popular MMA star who was determined to meet and beat Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring (he ended up achieving half his goals). The evening, however, was arguably dominated by McGregor, who, true to form, made it all about himself by screaming at ESPNs Dan Rafael.
Conlon, who won his debut that night, went on to fight again at Madison Square Garden the following Saint Patrick’s Day (sans McGregor). Now, with an undefeated 10-0 record, the featherweight will be fighting at the Garden this coming Saint Patrick’s day, as well. There’s little doubt that yearly appearances at the Garden during the world’s most famous Irish holiday are now to be expected. Not that Conlon minds, as Top Rank continues to build on his European and east coast fan base. This year, Conlon will find himself facing the 24-3-2 Ruben Garcia Hernandez of Mexico. Although he hasn’t met any big names while in the pro ranks, the active Conlon has been quite busy building his resume, as well as public awareness.
Yet Conlon isn’t the only name fighter to be plying his trade this weekend. For the 38-7 Luis Collazo will also appear on the Garden card. While Conlon is a fighter on the rise, New York’s Collazo has faced a who’s who of name fighters over the years. Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan, Keith Thurman…all of these men have shared a ring with the 37 year old welterweight. Unlike Conlon, Collazo has also held a major world title, having been in possession of the WBA welterweight strap from 2005-2006. On Sunday, Collazo will be facing the 30-4-2 Samuel Vargas. An experienced vet, Collazo has shown he can be full of surprises.
In 2014, he demolished Victor Ortiz at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Then, in 2015, he landed a thunderous body shot while fighting Keith Thurman in Tampa, one that clearly hurt the popular Floridian (though Thurman went on to win the fight). The Madison Square Garden Saint Patrick’s Day card will be streamed live this Sunday, starting at 3 PM, EST on the ESPN+ Streaming Service.