Middleweight terror Golovkin set for stay-busy fight against Willie Monroe Jr

Middleweight terror Golovkin set for stay-busy fight against Willie Monroe Jr

Posted on - May 15 Friday, 2015

Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, the best middleweight in the world and one of boxing’s pound-for-pound greats, will fight on Saturday in Inglewood, California.

Golovkin (32-0, 29 KOs) is one of the planet’s most feared boxers and as such he has had a difficult time finding quality opponents willing to face him. In three days, at The Forum, he will try and extend his knockout streak to 20 straight against unsung challenger, Willie Monroe Jr.

In a small media gathering earlier this week, Triple-G – as he is known – talked more about possible future combatants such as Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, Peter Quillin and (wishfully) Floyd Mayweather than Monroe.

Monroe (19-1, 6 KOs) of Ithaca, New York said he has “literally been the underdog since I’ve been in my mother’s womb”. While he isn’t being given much of a chance, Monroe claims he will prevail because he is a southpaw with a slick, defensive style that will frustrate the attack-minded Kazakhstan “I’m a stylistic enigma to Triple-G,” said Monroe, whose uncle Willie ‘The Worm’ Monroe defeated Marvin Hagler in 1976. Monroe, who won ESPN’s 2014 Boxcino middleweight title, describes his style as “hit and not get hit,” much like his boxing inspiration, Floyd Mayweather Jr. About Mayweather’s recent defensive/counter-punching mastery of the attack-minded Manny Pacquiao, he said, “If that’s running you’re mentally dehydrated,” hinting that he would try and out-box, not out-slug, the heavy-handed Golovkin. For the sake of self-preservation, Monroe’s fight plan sounds like a smart one.

“On Saturday we will be shocking the world, but not ourselves,” said Tony Morgan, Monroe’s trainer who made news in April when he was arrested after undercover police officers purchased four ounces of methamphetamines from Morgan. Monroe’s team said the legal issue didn’t disrupt the training camp and Morgan would be in the corner on Saturday.

Golovkin has become one of the most talked-about fighters in the world because of a 90% knockout percentage that belies his sweet personality. While there is only a small Kazakh community in California, he is the boxer with the highest number of ticket sales in the Golden State in the last two years. Golovkin, 33, has recently become a resident of Santa Monica with his wife and kindergarten-aged child.

Once Golovkin is in the ring he has an uncanny ability to cut off his opponents movements, hunt them down, and knock them out with his nuclear right hand. Golovkin doesn’t seem too concerned about Monroe. He said he was using the fight as a personal test against a defensive-minded southpaw because it would prepare him for more multi-faceted fighters in the future. Golovkin realizes that stronger opponents and bigger paydays will soon be upon him.

Golovkin’s growing popularity has given him more leverage in boxing boardrooms. In another boon to Golovkin’s prospects, Pacquiao – HBO’s biggest draw – was defeated two weeks ago and subsequently underwent shoulder surgery. HBO’s star will probably be sidelined for the remainder of the year. HBO – the most influential boxing network in the United States – will now push Golovkin as its feature attraction by influencing promoters to create big events around the crowd-pleasing knockout artist from Kazakhstan.

The speculation in American boxing circles is that if all the middleweight stars align: Canelo Alvarez, the popular Mexican fighter – who knocked out James Kirkland last weekend – will take on Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, the lineal middleweight champion, toward the end of the year. Alvarez versus Cotto would be a popular event because in the ethnically partisan boxing world it would pit two national icons against one another. The winner could then take on Golovkin, the widely recognized alpha dog at middleweight, for another megafight in early 2016.

So after the Monroe contest, Golovkin wants to fight a strong challenger such as American Peter Quillin and then take on Alvarez or Cotto to cement his legacy. His ultimate goal is to vanquish all of the best middleweights and unify a championship that’s been fractured for nearly a decade. “I want all the belts at 160,” he said.

But Triple-G will first have to get past Monroe, known as ‘El Mongoose’.

“It will be a difficult style for me,” said Golovkin, wearing a bright yellow tracksuit and a baseball cap emblazoned with ‘GGG’. Likely more gamesmanship than reality, Golovkin says he is more interested in going the 12-round duration rather than extend his knockout streak. Golovkin’s last fight in February versus Martin Murray went to the 11th round, the equivalent of a lifetime for a GGG fight. Golovkin took down Murray twice in the fourth round and the bout ended in a TKO in the 11th. Golovkin’s other fights have mostly ended in the early rounds. Only three of Golovkin’s pro fights – all eight rounders – have gone to the scorecards.

Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, acknowledged that Golovkin would like to have a 12-rounder under his belt to better prepare himself physically and mentally for future championship fights. “It’s a big issue for him, not for me,” said Sanchez. Given Golovkin’s proclivity for knockouts, it would be difficult to bet against the same scenario happening on Saturday night. “This is boxing, and one punch can end it,” said Sanchez. “His motivation is that the fans go home with a smile on their face, and want to come back for the next fight.”