Dean Whyte wants to see Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan run it back for a rematch in reaction to their exciting fight last Saturday night at the Nottingham Arena in Nottingham, England.
Whyte saw the fight as a war of attrition with WBA featherweight champion Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) walking through withering fire from the accurate shots from the southpaw Conlan, getting hurt many times in the fight, before coming on to knock him out in the 12th round.
After the fight, Wood’s face was badly marked up with both eyes blackened, nose swollen, and face in bad shape from the many shots that he’d taken from the Irish fighter.
Conlan isn’t a big puncher, yet he did damage to Wood, hurting him many times in the contest before running out of gas in the championship rounds.
If not for the smaller fighter Conlan gassing out, it’s safe to say that he would have won the fight with ease because he wouldn’t have needed to spend time on the ropes, giving Wood his only chance to win.
After the contest, Wood’s promoter Eddie Hearn said that he plans on matching Leigh against either WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz or the winner of the March 26th fight between IBF champion Kiko Martinez and Josh Warrington.
We’ll likely see Wood fight the winner of the Martinez-Warrington fight because it would be a huge match-up if Warrington is the one Leigh faces.
It’s interesting that Warrington is getting a title shot against Martinez rather than Mauricio Lara, the guy that knocked him out. It would be a far more interesting fight between Lara and Kiko Martinez than the lighter-hitting Warrington.
Wood took a pounding
“Obviously, they said he’s talking and he’s over there. Prayers out to him. Those kinds of fights sometimes take something out of you, you know” said Dean Whyte to Intu Boxing in reacting to Michael Conlan’s 12th round knockout loss to Leigh Wood.
“It was a war of nutrition in there, an absolute war of nutrition,” said Whyte.”This is a fight that I definitely would like to see them run it back.
“I know as decisive as it was with the knockout, I feel like it was very evenly balanced going into that last round. He has the heart of the lion and a warrior of a bear all in one and he kept coming forward,” said Whyte about Wood.
“What was annoying to me is he kept getting caught with that [left-hand] overhand. It was really strange that they [Team Wood] couldn’t make that adjustment. All night, he got caught with that.
“Look, let’s get past the negative. It was a hell of a fight with two great warriors in there tonight. We wish him all the best, and we’ve got to give this man the maximum credit because this man [Wood] dug deep, deep, deep to get through that. He had to pull out a knockout like that.
“He kept walking forward with little rallies. He was bobbing & weaving and rolling and blocking some of them,” said Whyte about Conlan.
“He finally caught him. Before that, he was wasting his time because he wasn’t hitting him because he was rolling. He got the stoppage and what a stoppage it was.
In the first, he got caught cold [by Conlan]. As he got warmed up into the fight, he started taking shots a lot better. What I feel like is Conlan came out too fast because he gassed in there tonight. That’s what the problem was,” said Whyte.
The way that Wood performed, his time as the WBA 126-lb champion is on borrowed time.
He’s not going to stay champion for long unless Hearn avoids fighters like Santa Cruz, Emanuel Navarrete, Mark Magsayo, Gary Russell Jr, or Mauricio Lara. Those guys would likely beat Wood without too much trouble.
Conlan gassed out
“All that bodywork. It was a fast-paced fight, and he kept doing the same thing and throwing the same shot,” said Whyte on the body shots that Wood and Conlan were both landing during the contest. “He was finding the target and I understand what he was, but I felt like he started a bit too fast.
“Once he got down the straight that was fatigue that kicked in when he started to sit on the ropes and started to play possum on the ropes. He was gassing.
“So, when my man began to come on and began rallying, there were a few rallies in there. In the tenth round, it was a good rally. Leigh came back and it was a good rally. The eighth was a great round.
“Throughout the contest was really amazing, but I felt like if he didn’t start so fast, he would have been in a better position to box and have his legs with him as well.
“You’ve got to give Leigh credit because he was gone in the first round. Did you see the way he got knocked down? To come back and continue and continue to be buzzed in the second and the third.
“He [Wood] found himself and warmed into it. When he warmed into it, he took the shots a lot better as well. I felt the bodywork for both guys was paying dividends and I think it really went in Liam’s favor and that’s why Conor went to the ropes a few times.
“In that last exchange, he came up short,” said Dean Whyte about Conlan.
If Conlan had circled the ring in the 12th round rather than standing and trading with Wood, he probably would have won. Conlan’s corner should have recognized that he was too tired to stay off the ropes. If they had told him to move and not mix it up, it would have been an easy round for him.
Wood would have an excellent chance of beating Kiko Martinez or Warrington because those are vulnerable fighters that are nowhere near as good as the elite guys like Navarrete, Russell Jr, and Lara.