By: Sean Crose
“Michael Conlan could have taken a much less risky fight for his return to the ring at the SSE Arena on Saturday night,” writes former titlist Carl Frampton for the Belfast Telegraph, “but to his credit he is jumping in with Miguel Marriaga who is a major threat despite being at the veteran stage of his career.” Conlans’ last fight was back in March when he was knocked out in the 12th and final round of a terrific battle with Leigh Wood. Conlan was looking to win his first world title at the time. He ended up getting knocked out of the ring. No matter. Both Conlan and Wood fought so gamely that there was little to criticize either man about.
Still, Frampton is impressed that Conlan wasn’t interested in facing a soft touch upon his return. “Once I heard who the opponent was going to be,” Frampton writes, “I thought it was a very brave fight to take.” While the 30-5 Marriaga doesn’t have the fan support Conlan has, he’s been pitted against the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicolas Walters and Oscar Valdez, all of who were undefeated and riding high when they met Marriaga in the ring. Expect the Colombian native to make the most of his opportunity after the opening bell rings Saturday in Conlan’s native Belfast.
“Marriaga is a puncher, a good fighter who fought at world level before, so this just shows what Mick is all about as he is willing to take a fight like this,” Frampton writes. “He is a big puncher and that always carries a threat because you can out-box someone for long periods and then get caught in the end.” As Frampton points out, “that is what happened to Mick against Leigh Wood.” Should Conlan have learned from any mistakes he may have made against Wood, Frampton believes the Irishman can emerge victorious on Saturday.
“I back him in this one,” Frampton writes , “and give him all the credit in the world for taking such a risky fight. People want to see a good fight and he understands that.”
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