Following the tactical match that was mislabeled “Fight of the Century” by both experts and casual fans, boxing has rejuvenated itself with exciting matches such as Canelo Alvarez’s stunning knockout of James Kirkland two weeks ago. Last Saturday continued the trend.
If you’ve followed our boxing posts, you know I’ve been critical of the major networks for not showcasing the lower weight fighters, especially since they tend to put on more exciting matches than what the viewer is shown. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, long considered one of the best fighters in the world regardless of weight, finally got a chance to show his skills to a large American audience when HBO showed his fight with Edgar Sosa in the undercard of the Golovkin v. Monroe Jr. bout.
The Nicaraguan flyweight champion wasted no time in attacking the brave Sosa by immediately putting pressure on the Mexican with brilliant footwork and feints. By the halfway point of round 1, Gonzalez (43-0, 37KO) already started to land his power shots on a defensive Sosa (51-9, 30KO), whose punches either didn’t land effectively or had no force behind them to deter Gonzalez. By the end of the round, it was clear who was the stronger, fresher, and more skilled fighter.
Round 2 began with Sosa understandably on the defensive as Gonzalez mixed his attack to the head and body. The body shots in particular seemed to bother Sosa. A left hook stunned Sosa and a right cross to the head put Sosa on the canvas for the first knockdown of the fight and the beginning of the end commenced. Gonzalez stayed on his man and put him down with another left hook. Sosa bravely rose and tried to fight back but another barrage of punches put him down for the third time and the referee waved the bout off.
The impressive nature of the victory made Gonzalez some new fans who probably haven’t had a chance to see him before and hopefully HBO will continue to televise his bouts. Gonzalez, and the rest of the lower weight fighters deserve it.
In the main event, unknown Willie Monroe Jr. (19-2, 6KO) looked to upset feared middleweight Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30KO) with his slick stick-and-move style. Golovkins response: No problem.
Monroe’s movement never seemed to bother Golovkin, who scored his first knockdown by backing his opponent to the ropes and unloading a huge left hook on Monroe’s head. Monroe got up on unsteady legs and Golovkin followed through with another knockdown, but the gutsy Monroe managed to survive the round.
Realizing he couldn’t win the fight with movement, Monroe elected to stand and trade with the powerful Golovkin and actually had some success in rounds 3 and 4. Golovkin became easier to hit since he was more than happy to stand and trade with Monroe. However, Monroe’s shots lacked the kind of power to stop Golovkin from coming forward. Golovkin hurt Monroe early in round 5, reminding everyone who had the power advantage and the Kazakhstan native followed through in round 6 by knocking Monroe down for the third time. Monroe managed to beat the count, but told the referee he had enough and the referee waved the fight off, awarding Golovkin a TKO victory.
Golovkin remains one of the most feared fighters on the planet and it’s easy to see why. Still, it’s a disgrace that the rest of the top middleweights are unwilling to engage with Golovkin and it’s become abundantly clear that the official middleweight champion, Miguel Cotto, is looking for the biggest payday instead of the biggest challenge. That’s understandable given Cotto’s age and the wear-and-tear he’s endured throughout his own storied career, but it does hold the division championship hostage and therefore keeps Golovkin’s potential as a star in the sport on hiatus. Nevertheless, Golovkin is doing the right thing in keeping himself busy until an opportunity does present itself.
And who says boxing is dead?