Top Rank's Bob Arum put on another display of his talented stable tonight, headlined by rising young prospect and recent Olympian from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Michael Conlan in a featherweight showdown.
Conlan (2-0, 2 KO) went to work early and often again his Tijuana, Mexico based opponent, Alfredo Chanez, who is almost exactly what Conlon should be paried against at this early stage in his career. The Irishman started the first round methodically finding counter opportunites from his challenger's wild shots. Conlan used his superb jab to keep Chanez (4-5, 2 KO) at bay for the entirety of the fight. Towards the end of the opening stanza, the young star caught Chanez with two rights followed by an uppercut that sent him straight to the canvas and looking very bad upon rising. The unheralded challenger somehow managed to survive the onslaught for the rest of the round to see the bell, entering his corner with a nose oozing blood and a look of discouragement.
The 2nd round saw more of Conlan laying a beating on Chanez, with the action being halted midway into the round due to a hard low blow from the Irishman. After a couple of warnings to start the third for an elbow and shots behind the head, which the underdog had been complaining of the entire fight, Conlan finished the job he was brought in to accomplish in the waning seconds, landing a hard right to the back of Chanez followed by another right directly to the side which sent the Mexican writhing to the ground in pain. The referee put a stop to the bout at 2:59 of the 3rd round.
While Conlan got a dominant victory in only his second professional fight, it was evident it will be some time before he can be paired with the elite, or even the gatekeepers, of the division. He switched from orthodox to southpaw multiple times throughout the fight, which should really be unnecessary against a fighter of Chanez's caliber. At only 25, Conlan has plenty of time to work out his kinks, which promoter Bob Arum will have no issues doing.
In tonight's middle bout, Welterweight Alex Saucedo (25-0, 15 KO), who is trained by the great Abel Sanchez, squeaked out a close, yet clear, unanimous decision against formidable veteran Wilberth Lopez. Lopez (18-8, 13 KO) started out early moving, however was caught with a hard combo that sent him to the mat and looking to be in serious trouble. After escaping the round and making it through another onslaught in the second, Lopez found a groove in the third and started to land more punches and use his legs to keep Saucedo chasing him around the ring the entire night. While Lopez did land his fair share of good shots and showed solid defense, Saucedo was the aggressor for the whole fight and never let up his relentless pressure. Saucedo finished out the last two rounds with solid body work and good combinations to take home his undefeated record on scores of 78-73, 78-73, and 77-74. Fightful.com had the fight scored 77-74 for Saucedo, who looked good but still needs some polishing on his footwork and ability to cut off the ring.
In the opening scuffle, weathered veteran Mike "Mile High" Alvarado, who has a part of numerous huge events, completely outgunned unknown Matthew Strope (24-5, 9 KO) via second round TKO.
Alvarado showed a good amount of hand speed and a hard punch, however Strope was never meant to be much of a hassle for the former champion. The first round saw Strode go down on a hard combo from Alvarado (37-4, 25 KO), and things never looked up for the challenger from there. He continued to eat "Mile High"'s thundering blows for the rest of the round and well into the second. The Colorado native backed Matthew into the corner and unleashed some massive punches, which culminated with a right uppercut followed up two hard rights that sent Strope into the ropes and the referee in for a count. After getting a second look, it was obvious Alvarez had done all the punishment needed, and the bout was called off at 2:40 of the second round. After the fight, Alvarado, who has notoriously had his share of struggles both in and out of the ring, claimed he is now "coming back for good".