Boxing Insider Notebook: Monroe, Top Rank, Gonzalez, Barrios, Benavidez, Gomez, Saunders, and more
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 5th to July 12th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Banner Promotions Re-signs Willie Monroe Jr.
Banner Promotions is pleased to announce the re-signing of former world title challenger and Boxcino 2014 Middleweight champion, Willie Monroe Jr. to an exclusive promotional agreement.
Monroe of Rochester, New York has a record of 20-2 with 6 knockouts and is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision over fellow former world title challenger and Boxcino champion, John Thompson on June 11th in Verona, New York.
The 29 year-old Monroe turned professional in 2008 and won his first 10 bouts. Monroe won the 2014 Boxcino Middleweight tournament with wins over Donatas Bondorovas, Vitally Kopylenko, and Brandon Adams.
Those wins catapulted him into a bout with WBA/Interim WBC Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
Monroe performed admirably in the bout, which took place on May 16, 2015 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
“I’m excited to re-sign with Banner Promotions. Artie has been nothing but great to me, and he’ll put me in position to fight against the Danny Jacobs and Canelos of the boxing world,” said Willie Monroe Jr.
“It feels good to have a fresh start over. I am coming off of a huge win on Showtime vs. John Thompson, and I now have a great team watching my back with my brother, Trent Monroe, TJ Nolan and Adrian Clark as my Strategic Partner.”
“Doing what was best for Willie was the focal point in negotiations. We put our heads together and structured a great deal for Willie with Banner Promotions. I am looking forward to working with Artie to map out things for Willie,” said Adrian Clark, Monroe’s Strategic Partner.
“We are excited to have Willie back in the fold,” said Banner Promotions President, Arthur Pelullo.
“Willie has showed not only in the Boxcino tournament, but in his fight against Golovkin, that he is one of the top middleweights in the world. He had a great performance against John Thompson, and now he is ready for any challenge in the division. We will be actively pursuing all of those opportunities for Willie.”
Top Rank Signs Jose Gonzalez
Unbeaten featherweight prospect José ‘El Chocolatito’ González signed a multiannual promotional contract with Top Rank® the promotional company based in Las Vegas that is led by hall of fame promoter, Bob Arum.
As a professional fighter, Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Harlem, New York, marches undefeated with a record of 3-0-1 and 1 knockout. The fighter that is called ‘El Chocolatito’ amassed a 34-6 record as an amateur and won various amateur tournaments as: Junior Olympics in 2011 and Golden Gloves in 2014.
“I feel very blessed and thankful for my managers and Top Rank for giving me this opportunity to sign with the best promotional company,” said Gonzalez. This will motivate me to train harder every day and accomplish my goal of becoming a world champion,” guaranteed the 20-year old fighter.
‘El Chocolatito’, who describes himself as a classic boxer-puncher with knockout power, is trained by his father Martin Gonzalez, in the famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.
Boxing runs through the Gonzalez’s veins. Martin represented Nicaragua in 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona and Jose is the cousin of world champion Roman ‘El Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, from whom he adopted his nickname.
“Jose is solid prospect who is always in entertaining fights and has a growing fan base. Along with his manager, Richard Anthony guiding him, his future is extremely bright,” said Carl Moretti, vice-president of Top Rank.
“It is a honor and privilege to work with the Top Rank family. Bob Arum and his team have been a delight to work with and we look forward to a long and happy relationship,” said Richard Anthony, manager of Gonzalez.
Details about Gonzalez debut under the Top Rank banner will be announced soon.
Barrios Defeats Boschiero on ESPN
Undefeated rising super featherweight contender Mario Barrios (16-0, 8 KOs) defeated former title challenger Devis Boschiero (39-5-1, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision (120-107 X 3) in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN & ESPN Deportes from Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, New Jersey.
From the opening bell, Barrios asserted himself as the aggressor, landing his jab at will and finding his distance early.
Barrios said, “Initially my game plan was to work the jab and see what would open (Boschiero) up. But as the rounds went by he didn’t seem like he was going to come at me. He just didn’t seem to want any action.”
A very tall super featherweight at more than six feet, the 21-year-old Barrios proved difficult for the stocky Boschiero to reach. However, near the end of the second round, the experienced Italian found a rare opening and landed several punches that briefly put Barrios on his heels.
In round three, Barrios regained control and coasted throughout the middle rounds, largely due to Boschiero’s hesitation to engage.
“It was pretty frustrating. I came out to put on a show for the fans, and unfortunately it seemed like my opponent was just trying to survive,” said Barrios. “I can try to press the fight all I want, but if he doesn’t want to fight it’s not going to happen.”
Boschiero, who challenged for a world title in 2011, added, “I had trouble finding my range tonight. He was tougher to hit then I expected.”
In round 12, Barrios scored the only knockdown of the fight, but Boschiero was able to get back to his feet and used the final seconds of the fight to execute his best combination of the night.
“I got to him in the final round,” said Bosciero. “But the opportunities were there when they weren’t in previous rounds.”
A victorious Barrios said, “This was my first 12-round fight, and it felt good to get the experience, I just wanted more intense action. But an ESPN main event takes my career to the next level. I’m just hoping for my shot at the title.”
Televised coverage kicked off with undefeated prospect Eddie Ramirez (14-0, 9 KOs) handily defeating Californian contender Jessie Roman (20-3, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision (98-92, 99-91 X2) in a 10-round super lightweight showdown.
David Benavidez Gets Right Back in the Gym
Just two days after dominating previously undefeated Francy Ntetu (16-1, 3 KOs) on Premier Boxing Champions’ June 25th CBS card at New York’s Barclay’s Center, “El Bandera Roja,” David Benavidez, was back at his home gym in Long Beach, preparing for his next bout. The rising star had no intention of taking time off, and jumped right into an intense training regimen that included sparring with Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24KO), who was set to make his pay-per-view debut later in the month, but was sidelined this week with an injury.
“My last fight was hard, but I learned a lot,” stated Benavidez regarding his bout with previously unbeaten Canadian Ntetu. “It was great experience, getting rounds in.”
With only one exception, a six round fight that went the distance in 2014, Benavidez hadn’t fought beyond the second round, knocking out opponent after opponent.
“I feel better and more experienced,” Benavidez continued. “I have confidence knowing I can go into deep waters and finish a fight if I have to. I’m learning how to pace myself when I need to during a round, and I know that those later rounds made me a better fighter.”
As Benavidez prepares for his next fight, he’s focused completely on improving himself.
“I didn’t mind getting right back to the gym,” said Benavidez. “This is my lifestyle now. I just want to train. I want to look at what I did wrong in my last fight and fix it. I don’t want to get rusty in between fights. When I’m not physically training, I’m thinking about mistakes I made in fights, techniques that can be improved. I want to get better each fight, and I’m consumed by that.”
“It’s this commitment to success and improvement that sets David apart from other young men his age, and other fighters,” said Jose Benavidez, Sr., David’s father and head trainer. “This is what makes him different, and this is why he’s going to be the best.”
Gomez Suffers Injury, Velez vs. Alvarado New Main Event
The exciting 10-round super featherweight bout between Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (23-2-1, 16 KOs) and Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado (23-7, 16 KOs) has been upgraded to the main event on the Estrella TV Boxeo Estelar, broadcast on July 15. The originally scheduled fight between Alfonso Gomez vs. Pablo Cesar Cano has been cancelled due to Gomez sustaining an elbow injury earlier this week.
Live from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, the event will feature a new televised co-main event between undefeated prospect Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (15-0, 11 KOs) of Boston and Luis “La Roca” Hernandez (12-1, 7 KOs) of Rio Pierdas, Puerto Rico in a eight-round super welterweight fight. Decorated amateur, Cesar Diaz of Palmdale, Calif. will make his professional debut and open up the Estrella TV broadcast in a scheduled four-round super bantamweight fight.
The event will feature former five-division boxing world champion and International Boxing Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard hosting a meet and greet at the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center ahead of the televised bouts from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Rob Brandt Wants to Face Billy Joe Saunders
Undefeated Minnesota-based middleweight Rob “Bravo” Brant would like to be the contender chosen to face WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on September 17.
Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) announced last week he would be fighting on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Liam Smith undercard on HBO pay-per-view in the United States, and WBO #9-rated Brant (20-0, 13 KOs) says he thinks he’s the right choice to face him.
“I have the utmost respect Billy Joe Saunders as an athlete,” said Brant. “I respect him so much that I would really enjoy giving him a grand welcome to the United States in the middle of the square circle.”
Brant has been on a tear for the last year, scoring important victories on national television, including a “KO of the Year” contending knockout over Decarlo Perez in January. During that time, he also won the NABA Middleweight and WBC Continental Americas Championships.
“Rob Brant is the perfect choice for Saunders in that fight,” said Brant’s promoter, Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions. “He’s red hot right now. He’s undefeated and makes for exciting fights and he’s got a fan following from his television appearances. Saunders vs. Brant makes great sense for boxing fans and from a business perspective.”
Cohen says he’s hoping to hear from Saunders’ representatives soon.