I'm going to stick my head way out on a limb here and the statistical likelihood is that it will get knocked off. On hearing of Gennady Golovkin's next fight with Willie Monroe Jr., one fight fan lodged the typical comment: "GGG's gonna' murder this fool." But there's something to be said for the undisputed underdog here, and in boxing, the lines separating the winner from the loser are not so finely drawn.
I'm conflicted b/c I'm a long time fan of both GGG & Willie Monroe Jr. I met Monroe when he was just starting out, a kid. We were both at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canistota, New York. I used to do a bit of work in boxing and if boxing has "groupies" then I'm one of them. Anyway, I took a picture of myself and young Monroe, talked to him a while, whereupon he told me he was going to be a middleweight champ. I was thinking, like "How can anyone even say you're going to be a middleweight champ when you've only had a couple of pro fights?
It takes some balls, I know, but it's also possible you're seriously naive. Yet, there was something different about Monroe Jr. He was so nice about, exuding a kind of humble confidence that kind of make you think, well okay...maybe...it's possible. The guy is likeable in the extreme. We had a nice chat and talked about his uncle? grandfather? Willie "The Worm" Monroe" who was a clever tough Philly fighter I liked to watch long ago.
But then I saw this new Monroe in a couple of fights (you always watch the fighters you've come in personal contact with --it's been like that with me since the days I met Ali at his training camp in Deer Lake Pa.) and I see he's coming up in the game. I stilll had my doubts, especially when he was scheduled to fight Brian Adams in the Boxcino tournament.
Weeks earlier I'd seen Brian Adams demolish his opponents with what looked like nuclear bombs. So I wondered how this well-spoken highly intelligent college boy was going to deal with that. In fact, Monroe Jr. made it look easy, and the way he did it was through smart fighting which didn't look like Mayweather style fighting but had the same result. And hey, you can say all you want about being "too defensive" but both Mayweather & Monroe can hit, and hit accurately with combinations.
I like GGG and I know he's got devastating punching power but I recently saw his performance in the Martin Murray fight and a few others. There is a certain type of fighter that could give GGG trouble, and it wouldn't surprise me if Willie Monroe Jr. was the guy.
I talked to Monroe again after he won the Boxcino Tournament (same place, I can't stay away from the joint, especially during the inductions). I told him I was afraid for him in the Bryan Adams fight. He laughed it off, saying he had a great training camp, and had "learned ways to deal with that." (meaning big punching power)
I call GGG's thing the "Tyson Effect" but what if there are guys like Buster Douglas who, for one night at least, don't buy into the "Tyson Effect?" I'm kind of a red, white, and blue guy and so I'm going for my American boy Willie Monroe Jr. to give GGG a lot of problems. There's a way to fight tough brawlers--look at the way Lucas Matthyse busted up my favored Ruslan Provodnikov just a few weeks ago. The game's called "boxing," don't forget, and that doesn't mean jumping forward with your head lined up with your opponents punches.
So okay, if you've read this far, you might want to read this interesting article from BOXING NEWS 24. It's got some facts and figures.
If you read nothing more, you should at least read what Willie Monroe Jr. had to say about the lead up to the fight next week. This is a quote from the article in Boxing News 24:
"“It was shortly after he (GGG) fought Martin Murray and what a lot of people don’t know and it’s closer to the fight so I can let this be released without it being too crazy (is) a lot of people don’t know that GGG’s camp turned me down twice when my name was brought up. They turned us down and they wanted to fight Tureano Johnson. There’s a picture floating around – they had already made the poster for him (GGG) and Tureano and that’s who they were gonna fight. HBO was sort of like ‘We really don’t want to see you fight him because you knocked out Curtis (Stevens) and then Curtis went and knocked him out’. So then it was between me and (Jorge Sebastian) Heiland. HBO was like ‘He’s not really known in America and the only guy he’s really beat is Matthew Macklin and you (GGG) knocked him out!’ So he was almost forced to have to fight me. I know for a fact that the other two opponents was offered more money than me. I hear a lot of people saying ‘Monroe must be taking this for the money’, I know for a fact they were offered more money than I was but that’s just the type of guy I am, I like to fight."