By: William Holmes
The Forum in Inglewood, California will be the host site for Saturday night’s HBO World Championship boxing telecast. Fan favorite Gennady “GGG” Golovkin will defend his WBA and WBC Interime Middleweight title against the winner of last year’s Boxcino Tournament Willie Monroe Jr. HBO will also be televising the WBC Flyweight Title fight between Roman Gonzalez and Edgar Sosa for Gonzalez’s world title.
Golovkin has been slowly and organically growing a strong fan base in the United States with his exciting style and Roman Gonzalez is a fan favorite amongst the diehard boxing fans but will be looking to increase his popularity with an impressive performance on Saturday.
The following is a preview of both the televised bouts.
Roman Gonzalez (42-0) vs. Edgar Sosa (51-8); WBC Flyweight Title
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is considered by many boxing experts to be one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, except for that he fights in the flyweight division and a majority of boxing fans don’t follow the flyweight and lighter divisions.
To say Gonzalez is small might be an understatement. He stands at 5’ 2.5” and has a reach of about 64”. Gonzalez started his career in the minimumweight division and currently holds the WBC Flyweight title, which is only 112 pounds. Gonzalez is also twenty seven years old and is in his athletic prime.
His opponent, Edgar Sosa, has his best days behind him. He’ll be about an inch taller than Gonzalez and will have close to a three inch reach advantage, but Sosa is thirty five years old and last held a title in the light flyweight division in 2009.
Gonzalez has excellent footwork and knockout power. He has stopped his past eight opponents and has stopped thirty six opponents total. Sosa has stopped thirty of his opponents and has two stoppage victories in his past five fights.
It’s hard to evaluate boxers in the flyweight division since they’re almost never shown on US television and the only way to watch some of them is through the use of the internet. But Gonzalez has been very active and has fought four times in 2014. Gonzalez is also willing to travel and has fought in places such as Japan, the United States, and Nicaragua. Gonzalez’s notable victories include Rocky Fuentes, Akira Yaegashi, Francisco Rodriguez Jr., Juan Francisco Estrada, and Omar Salado.
Sosa does have eight losses on his record and two of those losses were by knockout. He has defeated the likes of Giovani Segura, Gilberto Keb Baas, Brian Viloria, and Noel Arambuelt. He has several losses early on in his career but his notable losses were to Akira Yaegashi, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Rodel Mayol.
Basically this is a showcase fight for Gonzalez and it’s difficult to imagine a situation in which Sosa pulls off the upset. However, if Gonzalez is anything less than impressive in his first crack on HBO he will have a hard time fighting on the network again in an unpopular flyweight division.
Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (32-0) vs. Willie Monroe Jr. (19-1); WBA and WBC Interim Middleweight Titles
Golovkin has been an HBO mainstay since 2012 and he’s on the cusp of becoming a bona fide pay-per-view attraction with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Miguel Cotto being mentioned as possible future opponents.
Golovkin has the amateur pedigree that some of the all time greats have. He won the silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics for Kazakhstan and won the gold medal in the 2003 World Championships. Willie Monroe Jr. comes from a boxing family as his father is Willie Monroe and he is also the great nephew of Willie “the Worm” Monroe. Willie Monroe Jr. also reached the National Golden Gloves finals in 2007, but he does not have the international success of Golovkin.
They are about the same height, but Monroe is five years younger than Golovkin and will have a four inch reach advantage on him. Monroe is also a southpaw and a very slick boxer, a style that Golovkin has not had a lot of experience in facing as a professional.
Monroe actually may have the faster hands of the two, but Golovkin clearly has the knockout power advantage. Golovkin has stopped twenty nine of his opponents, including an amazing nineteen fight knockout streak. Monroe has only stopped nine of his opponents and his past five fights went the distance.
Monroe first made his name known with an impressive showing on ESPN’s Boxcino Middleweight tournament which saw him defeat Donatas Bondorovas, an undefeated Vitaliy Kopylenko, and an undefeated Brandon Adams. He followed up his Boxcino Title with a wide decision over the veteran Brian Vera. However, Monroe’s resume before Boxcino is light and he also lost to the always tough Darnell Boone early on in his career.
Golovkin has never tasted defeat and has never been in serious trouble in any of his fights. His major wins include Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, and Grzegorz Proksa.
If Monroe can tie up with Golovkin when he gets in tight and keep the fight at a safe distance by effectively jabbing and moving on the outside he has a small chance at winning a tight decision victory.
But every Golovkin opponent has tried to avoid his power with little to no success, and it appears unlikely that Monroe will be able to. However, boxing fans will certainly find out what kind of chin Willie Monroe Jr. has, as Golovkin will be sure to test it early and often.