Irish warrior Jamie Conlan did it again last night: he overcame adversity in a thrilling action fight and somehow managed to pull out a win. In edging tough, dangerous and experienced Yader Cardoza of Nicaragua via 12 round split decision – Conlan prevailing by scores of 115-113, 114-113, the third judge having it 115-112 for the visiting fighter – “The Irish Mexican” improved to 19-0(11).
Conlan picked up the vacant WBC International super-flyweight title and he moved closer to a shot at a world title. But Cardoza, who fell to a deceptive 22-11-1(6) really gave Conlan and his army of fans a scare. 30 year-old Conlan, the older man by two years, boxed well in the early going, his left jab proving effective. But soon enough, the war Conlan tried to avoid – “I can’t keep on having wars,” he had said going into last night’s bout – broke out in the 4th, as Cardoza had some success.
Conlan was still in charge and he was largely unmarked – but not for long. The 8th saw Cardoza hurt Conlan with a right uppercut, his follow-up barrage sending Conlan down. Badly hurt, the warrior some have compared to the late Arturo Gatti managed to get through the torrid session. In the 10th, Conlan was again under fire and his left eye was spouting blood, his face soon covered.
The fight had turned into yet another Conlan classic and really, the decision could have gone either way. But the reigning Commonwealth champ pulled it out once again, sending his fans home happy and relieved. But can Conlan become a world champion? If guts, heart and courage alone won world titles, Conlan would definitely make his dream come true; and Conlan can never, ever be written off in any fight.
Fast becoming every fan’s favourite action fighter, Conlan has now given us three epics. There will no doubt be more to come.
“To quote Lethal Weapon, I’m getting too old for this sh**,” a victorious Conlan said to IFL TV. “As long as everyone came and enjoyed it that’s all that matters – but we can’t do that every fight. I’ve said that before, we can’t do it.”
If Conlan can manage to provide a few more fights as great as his wars with Junior Granados, Anthony Nelson and now Cardoza, he will become a legend. If not a world champion.