Thursday, February 2nd 2017
Punxsutawney Phil Issues Executive Order!
PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL PREDICTS
“MICHAEL CONLAN WILL HAVE A
LONG AND PROSPEROUS PRO BOXING CAREER!”
GOBBLER’S KNOB, (Groundhog Day 2017) — At approximately 7:15 A.M. ET today, wearing a tweed flat cap and an Irish American Tartan vest over a t-shirt emblazoned with “Conlan to America,” Punxsutawney Phil — the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators — emerged from his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA, and proclaimed — by Executive Order in his native Groundhogese — that Ireland’s Olympic hero MICHAEL “MICK” CONLAN would make this year’s St. Patrick’s Day a glorious holiday for celebrants on both sides of the pond. It will be six more weeks of training before the former World Amateur Champion makes his pro debut in a six-round junior featherweight bout, headlining a special evening event on Friday, March 17, at the “O’Mecca of Boxing” The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Conlan joins an elite group of Olympic medalists, including George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Jermaine Taylor, to make his professional debut on boxing’s most hallowed ground. Only Conlan has played headliner for his pro debut.
“Mick wasn’t Putin up with any shenanigans. He chased the snakes out of the Olympics last summer and I predict he is going to chase his opposition out of the ring as a professional,” said America’s most quotable quadruped, while wagging a foam finger (guess which one!) on each hand. “Mick will enjoy a long and prosperous championship career. Without a shadow of a doubt, I foresee this lad wearing world title belts as a junior featherweight, as a featherweight and even as a junior lightweight.”
Before returning to his burrow to read Jerry Izenberg’s new book, Once There Were Giants. The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing, Phil was pressed for a definitive answer on whether Conlan’s opponent, Tim Ibarra (4-4, 1 KO), of Denver, had a chance to rain on Conlan’s St. Patrick Day parade. Phil astounded the media by responding in an Irish brogue.
Quoth the groundhog, “Nevermore.”
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Hennessy and Madison Square Garden, remaining tickets to Conlan’s pro debut on St. Patrick’s Day evening, priced at $200, $150, $100, $75 and $50, can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.
Conlan, 25, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, produced one of the most memorable moments during last summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A loss in the bantamweight quarterfinals to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin was arguably the most controversial of the boxing tournament. In fact Conlan hurt Nikitin so badly that the Russian forfeited his semifinal fight because he wasn’t able to recuperate from the injuries he suffered from the pasting he received from Conlan. After the decision was announced, Conlan saluted the judges with both middle fingers followed by a series of post-fight interviews ripping the decision and accusing the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which oversees amateur boxing, of corruption. AIBA sent the judges who worked that fight home in the wake of the immediate public outrage. Conlan further added to his legend by sending a Tweet to Russian president Vladimir Putin, “How much did they charge you bro???” A former amateur standout who was a 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist and 2015 World Amateur Champion — a first for a male Irish fighter — Conlan is training in Los Angeles with Manny Robles.
For fight updates go to www.toprank.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/trboxing, or facebook.com/trboxeo,and on Twitter at twitter.com/trboxing, or twitter.com/trboxeo, Use the Hashtag #MickConlan to join the conversation on Twitter.