Both Stevenson and Conlan had headline fights annouced today to take place at the Madison Garden Theater. Stevenson is making the first defense of his title vs Miguel Marriaga who is most well known for losing to Lomachenko and Oscar Valdez. He’s not a bad name on Stevenson’s resume though Marriaga really has made a career out of being an opponent for whoever Top Rank is pushing next. There’s no problem with Marriaga doing that it just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when this fight was announced after a unification with Josh Warrington was all but confirmed late last year.
Michael Conlan’s opponent is actually worse than Stevenson’s and to be honest is a bit embarrassing for Top Rank. Belmar Preciado is a career super bantamweight that achieved nothing significant at that weight and also hasn’t done much in his two fights at featherweight with saying all that he’s now headlining vs Michael Conlan because boxing makes no sense. Conlan isn’t a bad fighter so I don’t know why he isn’t being given opponents that can test him even a little bit though I suspect its because Bob Arum has a plan in place. Long term I think his plan is to get him to win Shakur’s WBO belt after he vacates and moves up to super featherweight because Conlan is ranked very high in the WBO. I think he’s going to get him the vacant belt because otherwise he would have put them in a fight already as both are signed to him so it wouldn’t be hard to make. Short term? wheel him out on every significant day for Irish people vs sub par opponents and rely on the Irish being loyal enough to buy tickets to support their own. Both the Irish fans that are being exploited and also Michael Conlan deserve better than what they are being served up right now and if Conlan doesn’t get a title shot by the end of 2020 he should perhaps start asking some questions.
If the promotional companies were honest and told us we were going get a showcase fight early in the year for their guys I wouldn’t mind it so much but its because they promise these big fights and rarely deliver. I hope that Conlan’s next opponent is better and that Shakur gets that unification with Warrington.