The four Gs: Golovkin & Gonzalez wrap
The GGG bulldozer rolls on. 'Honorary Mexican' Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin predictably crushed slick southpaw Willie Monroe Jr in six in front of a spellbound crowd at The Forum in Inglewood, California; less predictable was the spirit, success and downright cojones of Monroe Jr whose surprising rally from a near fight-ending second round hinted he will remain a contender for the foreseeable future.
There is much to admire about WBA Super and WBC interim middleweight champion Golovkin. His activity is unparalleled among pound-for-pound fighters - with nine title defences in 28 months adding an acute sense of momentum to his career. Golovkin’s brand of educated pressure-fighting is the antithesis to the safety-first brilliance of Floyd Mayweather and reminiscent of the brutal walkdowns of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. Twenty consecutive KOs positively scream excitement.
Little wonder that Mexican and U.S. fight fans have adopted the angel-faced Kazakhstani as one of their own. They came for blood at the Forum and they got it, but only after Golovkin shipped more punches than anyone expected against the superbly conditioned challenger.
Golovkin looked a touch human and extremely hittable at times as the desperate Monroe Jr tagged him repeatedly in the third, fourth and fifth rounds with jabs, right hooks and straight left hands before the champion’s incessant pressure finally broke his will in the sixth.
Monroe’s bright start in the opening session had been brought crashing down in the second when a sickening left hook discombobulated him by the ropes and sent him crashing to the deck and again via a right hand shortly afterwards. Yet somehow the challenger survived the round – in what appeared a temporary stay of execution.
But Monroe Jr, great nephew of 1970s middleweight contender Willie Monroe who defeated the great Marvin Hagler, showed similar guile and enormous heart to stave off the relentless Golovkin and arguably win the third and fourth rounds after seeming destined for a blow out defeat in that brutal second.
Yet Golovkin’s intense pressure was forcing Monroe Jr to expend monumental energy levels just to survive and, by the sixth, the tank was empty as a prolonged barrage of punishment, culminating in a right hand, sent him down for a third occasion. With a completely spent look upon his face, the exhausted Monroe Jr appeared to be deliberately mistiming the count of referee Jack Reiss and rose gingerly at 10 before telling the referee, ‘”I’m done.” It was a sensible surrender.
Despite his unlikely successes, the New Yorker did not possess the requisite power to trouble the oncoming champion though one could speculate what the heavy-handed Canelo Alvarez or physically bigger Andre Ward might do in the same situation. WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto is another name in the mix, but may not have the size to compete. Those super-fights loom large in the future. Whatever the outcome, with Gennady Golovkin involved, a ‘big drama show’ is all but guaranteed.
The co-main event saw the magnificent Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez finally receive the platform his immense talent deserves. The WBC flyweight and three-division world champion was nothing short of masterful on his HBO debut and his days as boxing’s hidden genius appear well and truly over.
The brilliant Nicaraguan, regarded by many shrewd judges as one of the pound-for-pound top five fighters in boxing, took the breath away in destroying highly respected Edgar Sosa in two mesmerizing rounds. The footwork of Gonzalez was a joy to behold as he cut the ring off superbly from the opening bell and menaced former WBC 108lbs champion Sosa with his exemplary movement and dynamite fists.
Sosa wore a look of alarm as Gonzalez’s educated pressure squeezed the space from the ring. In the second, there was nowhere left to hide. Gonzalez ripped in fast and furious shots and the shell-shocked Mexican buckled under the pressure. A right hand sent him down to one knee before a left-right combo had Sosa down again as the Nicaraguan contingent at the Forum roared in approval.
The unremitting champion battered Sosa remorselessly by the ropes before dumping him a third time and referee Raul Caiz Sr waved off the masterclass. The humble Nicaraguan’s first thought was to embrace and kiss his fallen foe as he was still kneeling on the canvas. His record rises to an intimidating and noteworthy 43-0 (37 KOs).
Gonzalez-Sosa was the first flyweight bout broadcast on HBO for twenty years – in just 5 minutes and 37 seconds ‘Chocolatito’ ensured that run will not be repeated for quite some time.
You can read a feature on the magnificent Roman Gonzalez in the latest edition of Boxing Monthly. Still available in stores.