During the Coronavirus lockdown fighters are keeping themselves in shape at home by using a number of different methods. Michael Conlan is no exception but the Northern Irishman is also doing some studying in his spare time.
The 28-year-old Northern Irishman has, like so many, not fought yet in 2020 but that hasn’t stopped him watching and learning from one of his fighting colleagues at Top Rank.
“I’m watching a lot of boxing, studying a lot of boxing, namely one fighter and that’s Terence Crawford,” said the unbeaten featherweight who has also been filling his days with some baking as well.
“I always have rated Terence very highly but the more I watch him the more I see a lot of similarities in my style and his style. The fact we switch hit a lot, the way he uses his balance, I do see a lot of things that he does that I do myself. I’ve been watching a lot of him and learning a lot from things he does and how he does them.”
Conlan, ranked number one by the WBO, is nearing his first world title opportunity and has noticed the differences in Crawford’s abilities ever since the current WBO welterweight champion travelled to Scotland to dethrone Ricky Burns to win the WBO’s lightweight title and forge a path which saw him become a three-weight champion in four years.
“You can even see how much he’s come on and how much he’s got better as a fighter,” says Conlan. “It’s unbelievable. He’s a big, big puncher now but he wasn’t like that when he fought Ricky. He’s developed more so as the fights have went on and probably now has better technique and better balance. It’s someone who I take a lot from.”
Conlan, when he signed with Top Rank, had been earmarked for a future showdown with another of Bob Arum’s featherweights Shakur Stevenson who sits as the current WBO champion at 126lbs. Both competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio with Stevenson taking home a silver medal in the bantamweight division, while in the same weight category Conlan crashed out in the quarter finals following a controversial loss to Vladimir Nikitin. Conlan avenged that loss by outclassing the Russian in the pro ranks at the end of last year.
Conlan and Stevenson each possess 13-fight unbeaten records but the former believes that Stevenson will vacate the title and move up to super featherweight.
And while Conlan continues to study fighters like Crawford, Boxing Scene asked the Belfast man who would win in a showdown between Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.
“I’ve always thought it would be a tough fight because of how big Spence is. I do have Crawford one or two always, with Lomachenko, in the pound for pound [rankings] in my opinion. Between him and Spence, I think Crawford should beat him but it would be a great test of how he’s carried himself up from lightweight to the welterweight division. It’ll be a tough fight but I think his skill and his talent will see him through.”