Michael Conlan’s victory put Paddy Barnes’ career in doubt. Conlan earned an 11th straight win as he outpointed Mexico’s Ruben Garcia Hernandez in New York.
The Northern Ireland boxer, 27, was given a 100-90 verdict by all three judges in the 10-rounder.
“We could have stepped on the gas but we tried out a few things tonight,” said the featherweight.
But Conlan’s friend Paddy Barnes is considering retirement after a points defeat to Oscar Mojica – his second straight loss – on the same bill.
Victory for Belfast’s Conlan sets him up for a likely summer bout in his home city against Russian Vladimir Nikitin, who controversially defeated him at 2016 Olympics in Rio.
In front of a large Irish support at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day, Conlan was never troubled by Hernandez who went into the bout with a record of 24 wins, three defeats and two draws.
Two of Hernandez’s previous defeats came against world champions Nonito Donaire and Randy Caballero, and the other at the hands of Rafael Rivera, who recently went the distance with WBA featherweight title holder Leo Santa Cruz.
Nikitin was in also action on the Madison Square Garden bill and had to work hard to earn a majority decision over US journeyman Juan Tapia in their six-round bout.
One of the judges scored the fight a 57-57 draw with the other two handing the Russian a 59-55 verdict.
Aiming to get his career on track after suffering his first professional defeat in a world flyweight title challenge by Cristofer Rosales last August, Barnes sustained a broken nose early in the opening round in the bantamweight contest against American Mojica.
As he moved up two weight divisions for the contest, Barnes, 32, was put on the floor by a clear body shot in the second round which bizarrely appeared to be ruled as a slip by the referee.
However, Mojica, 26, continued to dominate the six-round contest and Barnes admitted afterwards that he was fortunate to be given the verdict by one of the three judges as the unheralded American was adjudged a split-decision winner.
Two judges gave the fight 58-56 to Mojica, who has lost five of his 18 professional bouts, with Barnes getting a 58-56 verdict from the other judge.
“I don’t know how they had it close. I thought he won every round,” Barnes, who won Olympic bronze medalists in 2008 and 2012 said.
He added. “To be honest, I will probably retire now. I don’t think there is any point boxing on after a defeat like that.
“The fans were great but at the end of the day I have to take care of my health. If I am going to box like that, then what’s the point boxing anymore? I can’t contest for a world title with that performance.”