There is no substitute for class.
Michael Conlan's development in professional boxing continued tonight as he overcame Luis Fernando Molina in New York. The bout was on the undercard of the world super-featherweight title match-up between Vasly Lomachenko and Guilermo Rigondeaux at Madison Square Garden.
After this morning's performance, Conlan's record is now 5-0. Under the wing of Top Rank and with the backing of MTK Global, 2018 is set to be a monumental year for the 26-year-old.
Conlan has never been a devastating puncher. However, his arsenal is considerable. The Belfast man has poise unique to boxing champions. Initially, Conlan's strong jab found its range as he reddened Molina's nose. He switched seamlessly to southpaw after two minutes and never let up. It was entirely one-way traffic and Conlan hardly took a shot.
It was clear the Irishman is at home in the Garden and was enjoying himself, most notably when he literally danced back to his corner.
In the end, a knock-out was not forthcoming and maybe it is for the better. For the first time, Conlan has gone six rounds and was comfortable doing so. In the immediate aftermath he confirmed his next fight will see him return to the Garden, on March 17.
When Michael Conlan entered 2017 he was still reeling from the grave injustice that was the 2016 Olympics. He leaves this year with a perfect 5-0, having headlined at Madison Square Garden and fighting on the undercard of the biggest fight of the year.
It was his best performance as a pro for one very simple reason; class. Conlan did not miss a beat. He developed styles throughout the fight; his hands were fixed high for a time only to graduate lower, he utilised the left as a jab and a cross.
St. Patrick's Day 2018 is his next fight. Based on his progress thus far, there is every chance Conlan moves towards a world title fight by the end of next year.