FightPost Prospect of the Month: Pierce O’Leary
By Gary Kittilsen
With what was perhaps the most action-packed and prospect-heavy month of professional pugilism since the pandemic, numerous blue-chippers gave fight fans something to behold.
However, one man’s performance again stole the show.
In a division that recently saw all four belts recently unified by a champion that is likely going to vacate all the hardware and go up to a more lucrative weight class, the super-lightweight division is in need of some young talent that can run the division for the foreseeable, future young upstarts that have the ability to reign in the division for years to come.
Between Dalton Smith and this month’s Prospect of the Month, Pierce “Big Bang” O’Leary seems to fit that bill.
O’Leary scored his second highly impressive victory of 2021, scored his first stoppage of the year, ran his record to a perfect 7-0 (3), and captured this month’s award.
O’Leary stepped in with no doubt what was a rugged opponent in Jan Marsalek. Marsalek had just gone the distance and floored blue-chip American prospect Kelvin Davis and stopped undefeated German prospect and knockout artist, Fatih Duebues in the ninth round.
However, The Irishman is clearly cut from a different cloth and was in complete control from the opening moments on. Scoring a big one-two that rocked Marsalek in the opening minute. Showing off his master skills O’Leary controlled his opponent with a quick jab and slick movement throughout the first round.
The difference in skillset was painfully obvious and the end came quickly in the second. Working behind his jab and clearly looking to set up something big, O’Leary landed a crisp uppercut that sent Czech reeling backward in the opening moment of the second round.
The end came about 90 seconds later with a big bang, as Marsalek loaded up on a wide right hand, O’Leary sidestepped it and fired off a vicious left hook that dropped Marsalek like a building imploding upon itself and bringing in referee Jamie Kirkpatrick to waive off the bout giving.
Many of the division’s top talents are likely moving out of the weight class. CEO of Mayweather Promotions said that Gervonta Davis will not be campaigning at the division. Barrios has outgrown the division and will likely move to 147. Undisputed champion Josh Taylor, who is a big super-lightweight will likely have no problem fighting as a welterweight and will take the big paydays and mega fights that are available at 147 as will former champ Regis Prograis.
That leaves a giant void for the young talent. O’Leary has shown world-class ability and should be moved along rather quickly. Fights against rugged veterans like Hank Lundy, Ryan Karl, Eduard Troyanovsky, or Amir Imam would boost him in contender status and grow his star in the USA were, given his Irish nationality, could transform him a huge draw in places like New York City that have large Irish populations.