When Michael Conlan returned to the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Sunday for his third St. Patrick's Day bout at the famous venue, a packed house of Kelly green-clad fans greeted him with an ovation.
The switch-hitting native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, didn't let them down. He was in total control against Ruben Garcia Hernandez (24-4-2, 10 KOs), of Cancun, Mexico, who didn't win a round. All three judges scored it 100-90 in Conlan's favor.
Conlan, 27, gracefully moved around the ring, picking his spots and landing clean blows to the head and body, raising his record to 11-0 (6 KOs). Garcia Hernandez, 25, never went down but absorbed a steady beating.
"Listen to this crowd," Conlan said. "It hard to explain [how I feel]. I think I showed my skills like I said I would. I showed a lot of good defensive movement. We were in no rush. I probably could have stepped it up, but I wanted to work on something."
Foremost on Conlan's mind was a rematch with Vladimir Nikitin.
"Vladimir, I know you're here. We need to do it again, I need to right a wrong," Conlan said, referring to a highly questionable decision the Russian fighter received in the Olympics.
If that match is made, it's going to be a far tougher fight than the one Conlan had with Garcia Hernandez on Sunday evening.