Legendary promoter tells Off The Ball about his big plans for the Belfast boxer
Back in September 2016, after the controversy of the Olympics, Michael Conlan announced that he was joining Bob Arum's Top Ranks promotions as he launched a professional career.
The Belfast boxer and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist will make his pro debut on St Patrick's Day at Madison Square Gardens against Tim Ibarra.
The signs point to the start of a memorable pro career for the talented boxer.
Tonight on Off The Ball, renowned promoter Arum spoke about how he signed Conlan and his ambitions for the 25 year old going forward.
"Like everybody else we watched the Olympics. We saw that this extraordinarily talented young Irish lad got screwed by the politics in amateur boxing and felt that when he turned pro, we would love to handle his career because he could be a major international boxing star," he said.
Promotor Bob Arum, center, holds up the arms of Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, left, and Timothy Bradley, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Las Vegas. Pacquiao and Bradley are scheduled to fight in a welterweight title fight Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
"We knew Matthew Macklin. He had fought in the United States, he had become friendly with us and we arranged a deal to sign Mick. We're very, very happy and we're looking forward to his pro debut in Madison Square Gardens on St Patrick's Day."
Arum also added that they immediately saw how "media friendly" Conlan was in terms of his natural charisma.
"If he was just an ordinary plodding fighter who got screwed on a decision in Olympic boxing, that wouldn't be unusual because that happens all the time. But here was this bright light, this tremendous young man taken advantage of," said Arum referencing what happened to Conlan at the Olympics.
"So we knew that if he signed with us, we can make his professional career into something special and not only make him into a boxing champion but an international sports star."
And he is confident that Conlan, coupled with his confident personality and supreme skill, can carve his name into the annals of boxing history by the end of his career.
Arum also predicted that one day, Conlan and fellow Top Rank signing Shakur Stevenson will do battle in a colossal fight.
"You're damn right, I'm looking forward to the careers of Shakur Stevenson and Mick Conlan. And five years from now, I'm going to have my version in this new Millennium of the Hearns-Leonard fight."
Arum also discussed his long career as a promoter and some of the fight deals he was involved in back in the day, including with Muhammad Ali after his Vietnam boycott that had an impact on his career.
It is common knowledge that Arum is no fan of Donald Trump and the administration that has taken charge of the United States and he predicted that, "by the beginning of next year you will see a President [Mike] Pence, who although is a right wing guy, is a normal, stable person and would be much better for the country" and expects Trump to be impeached by the end of 2017.
He also sees boxing, including from the Mexican American population, as a potential protest point against Trump policies.