Real Fighter GGG

Real Fighter GGG

By David A. Avila

Nobody doubts Gennady “GGG” Golovkin rates as prizefighting’s most exciting performer. But can he maintain that X-factor against a methodical southpaw boxer like Willie Monroe Jr.?

It’s a challenge Golovkin willingly accepts.

“Willie is a little bit different,” said Golovkin. “He’s a boxer, I’m a fighter.”

Middleweight champion Golovkin (32-0, 29 Kos) defends the world title against the fleet-footed defense-minded Monroe (19-1, 6 Kos) at the Inglewood Forum on Saturday May 16. HBO will televise the anticipated return of the knockout punching fighter who’s zoomed to the forefront of fans.

Just weeks following the “Dud of the Century” between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao that saw 12 rounds of few punches and a lot of holding, Golovkin’s ever-growing legion of ardent fans hope he can bring back the excitement. 

But if there’s one thing Mayweather proved, a defensive-minded boxer can stifle even the most aggressive attack. 

“If someone wants to go into survival mode it can make any fight an ugly fight,” said Abel Sanchez, who trains Golovkin in Big Bear. “It’s especially ugly, if they’re not trying to win.”

Golovkin expects to solve the defensive conundrum of Monroe.

“When I was an amateur I fought many boxers like that,” said Golovkin at his Big Bear training camp. “I had 350 amateur fights. A lot of fighters fight like that. He’s a southpaw has a good amateur style like a Cuban style.”

Golovkin won an Olympic silver medal in the 2004 Olympics and faced many defensive-minded boxers, especially Cuban and Eastern Europeans who prefer the “hit and move” style that dominates the amateur boxing world.

Oddly enough, Monroe has Cuban blood. The New York middleweight fought his way up the standings and captured a tournament by surprise against several highly ranked middleweights earlier in 2014.

“I’m just happy to get this opportunity,” said Monroe,28, recently in Los Angeles. “What he’s done is he’s proven himself.  And he’s widely known as the best middleweight out there, so you can’t argue with it, and obviously, I’m up there around two or number three, so that’s why I’m thankful for this fight.”

Monroe captured the Boxcino tournament last year after defeating three rival middleweights Brandon Adams, Vitaliy Kopylenko and Donatas Bondorovas. Few expected him to emerge the winner.

“Gennady is a little bit of a mixture of everyone I fought in Boxcino all the way up to Bryan Vera.  So I think this is the pinnacle, and it’s my job to go in and do what I do best,” Monroe said.
Many see Golovkin as the very best fighter pound for pound and definitely the most feared.

“I want to beat any style, any size. It’s good experience for me. It’s difficult with a southpaw,” said Golovkin who’s never tasted defeat as a pro and only lost five times in 350 amateur boxing matches.  

In Golovkin’s last fight at the StubHub Center in Carson, the demand for tickets was unexpected and additional rows of bleachers were added to the venue. It was Golovkin’s first appearance in Southern California though he trains in Big Bear.

Can he meet the fans expectations?