Gennady Golovkin stops Willie Monroe Jr. in 6th for 20th straight KO win
Dan Rafael,ESPN Senior Writer
INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin delivered yet another big drama show.
Golovkin scored three knockdowns and stopped Willie Monroe Jr. in the sixth round to retain his world title as he continued his reign of terror across the 160-pound division on Saturday night at the Forum.
Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs), who has the highest knockout percentage in middleweight title history, registered his 20th stoppage in a row as the wild crowd of 12,372 chanted and cheered his every move.
In retaining his title for the 14th time in a row, Golovkin tied Hall of Famer Carlos Monzon for second place in middleweight history; Bernard Hopkins holds the division record with 20.
"Willie is a good fighter, a tough fighter. I feel great. My performance was special for you guys," Golovkin told the adoring crowd. "This was a very good drama show. This was for you."
Monroe was the rare fighter who asked for a shot at Golovkin when no top fighters would accept a fight against him. He hoped for the upset, the way his great uncle, 1970s middleweight contender Willie "The Worm" Monroe, had once upset the great Marvin Hagler. But although Monroe, the winner of the 2014 eight-man, single-elimination ESPN Boxcino middleweight tournament, showed enormous heart, he was outclassed by Golovkin, the most feared fighter in boxing.
Wearing Los Angeles Lakers-colored gloves and trunks, Golovkin, who recently moved to Los Angeles from Germany with his wife and son, came out strong in the first round, landing some hard right hands, backing Monroe up and cutting the ring off on him so he had no escape. Without seemingly even getting much steam on his shots, he was physically moving Monroe with his punches.
Golovkin cranked up the offense in the second round and Monroe (19-2, 6 KOs) didn't seem to know what hit him as he got knocked down twice -- hard.
First it was a left hook that badly hurt Monroe, 28, of Rochester, New York, and deposited him on the mat as the crowd chanted "Triple G! Triple G!" Monroe was woozy and wobbly when he got to his feet, and moments later he was down again from a big overhand right.
"We were both in motion and he hit me with a good shot," Monroe said. "He is strong. Golovkin did a good job. He was easy to hit but he takes a good shot."
Golovkin was on the attack for the rest of the second round, staggering Monroe, whose right eye was swelling, with a left hook.
But Monroe, showing immense heart, not only survived but mounted a bit of a rally in the fourth and fifth rounds. He caught Golovkin with some solid punches, but Golovkin took them well.
In the fourth round, Monroe, whose southpaw style did not remotely trouble Golovkin, even managed to outland GGG, 33-30, according to CompuBox punch statistics.
"First of all, I showed him, No. 1, who is the real champ," Golovkin said. "Second step, I give him a chance and stay here and say, 'Come on bring it on, let's do it.'
"I knew I did not lose control. This is my big present for you. Saturday night, this is not five minutes. I wanted to show my people. Just show them."
Golovkin wanted to extend the fight and give the fans a good show, which he did.
"Gennady had him out in the second round but it looked like he let him get back in the fight. He said he wanted the fans to get more of their money's worth and then he broke him down," said Tom Loeffler, managing director of Golovkin promoter K2 Promotions.
Whatever brief success Monroe had was short-lived. In the sixth round, Golovkin smashed Monroe with a right hand during a flurry to drop him for the third time. He made it to his feet, but was in bad shape.
Golovkin, 33, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist from Kazakhstan, was on the attack again as Monroe went into the ropes and took a barrage of left hands to the head, finally going down to all fours. He made it to his feet again, but leaned against the ropes and told referee Jack Reiss, "I'm done," so Reiss waved it off 45 seconds into the round.
For the fight, Golovkin connected on 133 of 297 punches (45 percent), according to CompuBox, and Monroe landed 87 of 305 (29 percent), and there was no doubt that GGG was the much heavier puncher.
"I stay here. I am the real champion," Golovkin said. "I want unification. Let's go, let's do it guys. Who is No. 1 right now? Bring it on. I will show you."
Golovkin has not been able to get a top fighter in the ring with him but desperately wants one to fight him. In particular, Golovkin wants to face champion Miguel Cotto, junior middleweight star Canelo Alvarez and eventually super middleweight champion Andre Ward. Cotto defends his title against Daniel Geale on June 6 and then is likely to face Alvarez in the fall. Ward returns from a 19-month layoff on June 20 to fight Paul Smith in a non-title bout.
Without one of the big names willing to fight him next, Golovkin and his team are planning a busy schedule. He has already fought twice this year -- he also knocked out top contender Martin Murray in the 11th round in Monte Carlo in February -- and Loeffler said he would return in September, possibly in Mexico, England or Germany, with a fourth fight back in the United States in December.
"We will keep doing what we are doing while we try to get a big one," Loeffler said. "People love to come out and come to see him fight regardless of who he fights. People just want to see him in the ring because he is so exciting.
"It's not realistic to fight Canelo until at least next year. Alvarez promoter Golden Boy says the fight needs to be built, but the way Canelo sold 31,000 tickets last week and the way Gennady sells here in L.A., I don't know how much more it needs to be built."
In the meantime, Golovkin continued to beat the drums for a big-time pay-per-view fight, one he wants and one fans are clamoring for.
"I respect Miguel Cotto. Miguel is a great champion," said Golovkin, who also owns an interim title that makes him Cotto's mandatory challenger. "After this fight, I don't know who wins, but I stay here and wait for my big fight."
There's Alvarez, who knocked out James Kirkland in the third round last week before a crowd of more than 31,000 at Minute Maid Park in Houston in a spectacular performance. Cotto would also be a huge fight.
"Canelo? Not the future -- right now I am ready for the big fights," Golovkin said. "Miguel and Canelo. Right now. Not in the future. I am ready for the big fights right now. The next show."
As for Ward down the road?
"I respect Andre," Golovkin said. "Maybe right now he is not ready. Right now Canelo and Cotto, then Ward."
Canelo. Cotto. Ward. All really big drama shows.
|-- Courtesy of CompuBox|
Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
Golovkin-Monroe: Five things we learned
Brian Campbell, espn.go.com
A pair of boxing’s best fighters, pound-for-pound, recorded impressive knockouts as co-headliners Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Here are five things we learned as middleweight Gennady Golovkin and flyweight Roman Gonzalez remained unbeaten.
1. Golovkin’s “show” is unrivaled in the sport
Fighters such as Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao draw much bigger purses and attention as boxing’s two biggest pay-per-view brands. But no other fighter creates lively and positive anticipation before his bouts quite like "the Kazakh KO King.” The fact that Golovkin follows through each time with a satisfying conclusion has him seemingly on the verge of crossover stardom. Despite Willie Monroe Jr.'s providing a tougher-than-expected performance, GGG still delivered the boom to record his staggering 20th straight knockout. Unable to land the big names, Golovkin’s in-ring frequency -- becoming a quarterly draw for HBO and fans alike -- has clouded the fact that he has mostly disposed of B- and C-level opponents. Yet Golovkin’s Tysonesque qualities keep fans and consumers coming back for more with smiles almost as wide as the one Golovkin parades outside the ring. GGG not only makes sure to win nearly every round between the ropes, but he has also been basically undefeated outside them -- particularly in post-fight interviews -- which has added to his beloved and growing legend.
2. GGG’s power is the ultimate equalizer
Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs) was hit more often and more convincingly than we have been accustomed to seeing by the slick southpaw Monroe before his eventual sixth-round exit. For the first time, Golovkin looked human. In fact, Monroe not only outlanded Golovkin 33 to 30 in Round 4, according to CompuBox, but he also sat down on his punches and clearly earned GGG’s respect with accurate shots. It was fair to question whether Golovkin, who floored Monroe twice in Round 2 and looked on the verge of finishing him, had punched himself out a bit, especially after GGG looked a bit sloppy in Round 3. Golovkin, who recently moved his family from Germany to Southern California, explained after the bout that he was looking to give his fans a present, intimating that he allowed Monroe to hang around so the fight “was not five minutes.” Regardless of which side of the argument holds more truth, Golovkin’s power acts as a convenient insurance plan, should things not go his way in the ring. For as much success as Monroe had in pockets of this fight, the inevitability loomed that he simply wasn’t going to be able to endure GGG’s sick power for the full 12 rounds. So far, in fact, they haven’t been able to find someone who can.
3. Monroe’s stock was elevated in defeat
After succumbing to a third knockdown in Round 6 and barely beating the 10 count from referee Jack Reiss, Monroe (19-2, 6 KOs) asked out of the fight. But it wasn’t a moment that brought the negativity typically associated with a fighter quitting. Monroe had exceeded expectations as a heavy underdog, and to beat an old clichť, he came to win the fight. Golovkin’s unrivaled ability to cut off the ring limited avenues for Monroe’s success, from the standpoint of circling and outboxing him. Yet despite just six knockouts to his record and a reputation as a light hitter, Monroe gave Golovkin something to think about on more than one occasion with clean, hard shots. “The Mongoose” demonstrated his speed and ability to land shots from different angles, and he won the respect of fans with his toughness. Monroe, the 2014 Boxcino middleweight champion, used the previous year to go from virtual unknown to title contender. Along the way, he was the incredibly rare fighter openly vying for a shot at Golovkin. Sure, Monroe became another notch on GGG’s belt, but he proved he belongs.
4. Roman Gonzalez’s HBO debut lived up to the hype ...
.. and that’s saying something, considering how long hard-core fight fans have clamored for the flyweight punching machine to grace the shores of American premium cable. But Gonzalez, 27, already a three-division titleholder, defended his 112-pound belt with a second-round dismantling of tough veteran Edgar Sosa (51-9, 30 KOs). The native of Nicaragua -- nicknamed “Chocolatito” -- floored Sosa three times before referee Raul Caiz Sr. waved the fight off at 2:37. After The Forum crowd greeted him with a lustful ovation, Gonzalez lived up to every ounce of expectation in a showcase of his clinical, destructive style. In the first televised fight at a weight class that small on HBO since 1995, Gonzalez proved even the little guys can bring the excitement.
5. Chocolatito’s power and efficiency are scary
Gonzalez landed 72 of 130 punches against Sosa, and he did so with the calm, surgical precision typically associated with Golovkin. Gonzalez might be the better fighter altogether, and he certainly has faced much stiffer competition, in relation to his own weight class. Against Sosa, a former two-division titlist, Gonzalez was never in a hurry, and he was plenty responsible, from a defensive standpoint, for being such an explosive puncher. He is undoubtedly the real deal, and the fact that he has plenty of long-term business to attend to, in the form of a much-anticipated rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada or a lower-weight superfight with Naoya Inoue, has fans around the globe excited to find out how great he can be.
|-- Courtesy of CompuBox|