Big and Little Drama Show at the Forum

Photo Credit: German Villasenor

Photo Credit: German Villasenor

 

We basically got what was expected this past weekend at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., where both Gennady Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez blew out Willie Monroe Jr. and Edgar Sosa, respectively, in front of just over 12,300 patrons. Despite the lopsided nature of the the proceedings, these fans went home happy.

 

They wanted violence and knockouts – and that’s exactly what they got.

 

Yeah, it was another fun night in that historic building on Manchester Blvd. where boxing returned for the second time since its reopening, almost a year to the day on which Juan Manuel Marquez defeated Mike Alvarado.

 

Some thoughts on what took place…

 

– It’s interesting to read and hear that perhaps WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin got a bit exposed by Monroe after scoring two second round knockdowns because – get this – he actually got hit a few times in the subsequent rounds. Imagine that: A professional boxer who fights in an aggressive manner, getting hit! I’ll say this again; nobody has ever stated that “GGG” was or is Willie Pep – in fact, that’s a large part of his appeal. He doesn’t mind getting hit to deliver his own thunderous blows. But mind you, no matter what he may have said to HBO’s Max Kellerman, nobody really likes to get hit or allows it to happen on purpose. In this particular case, he believed he had a rather light-hitting foe (Monroe had just six stoppages in 20 bouts prior) in front of him and he could probably take some defensive liberties.

 

And it was really only a 45-second stretch in the fourth round in which Golovkin got touched. Really, I thought the greatest technical/strategic flaw exhibited by Golovkin was that he started to really load up on his left hooks after the second round hoping for that emphatic, highlight-reel stoppage and started becoming a bit wide in his punches, fatiguing himself a bit in the process as he swung and missed repeatedly at Monroe’s head. As he settled back down in the fifth round and began to chop away downstairs, he wobbled Monroe a couple times in that round and then stopped him early in the sixth.

 

– Did Monroe quit? Yes, absolutely. And guess what? I think it was absolutely the right decision. And his promoter, Artie Pelullo, agreed, “Well, he knew and I think he told [referee] Jack [Reiss], ‘I have no more left.’ So there’s no shame in getting off the floor five or six times against the best middleweight in the world and closing one of his eyes and giving him the fight of all fights but he had nothing left to give, so he had to let it go.”

 

For the record, Monroe only hit the deck three times (although it probably felt like more). But here’s the reality of the situation for Monroe: He had expended a lot of energy to even get into the sixth against Golovkin, who had settled into his customary, methodical pace and was beginning to really bang him up. Also, Monroe doesn’t have the eraser of a Diego Corrales or Arturo Gatti, who could turn dire situations around with one punch.

 

Things were only going to get (much) worse for Monroe, who is still in the prime of his career. Now, is there a bit of a double-standard here being applied? Yeah, because not all quit-jobs (for the lack of a better term) are created equally and Monroe has never had a history of doing such a thing. So in my view, it’s reasonable that he gets a mulligan here. I know many will disagree but his battery life was at zero and he was wise enough to realize that.

 

Photo Credit: German Villasenor

Photo Credit: German Villasenor

 

– I’ve said for years that while you may not necessarily be able to headline premium cable cards with the smaller fighters, they make for great appetizers for the main course. That was proven on Saturday as Roman Gonzalez more than lived up to the billing in his HBO debut by blowing out the faded Edgar Sosa in two rounds, improving to an eye-opening 43-0 (37). “Chocolatito,” who has won titles at 105 and 108 and is currently the WBC 112-pound champion, isn’t just one of the more highly-regarded boxers in the world, like Golovkin; he’s one of the most exciting.

 

And he did a great job of setting the table for the main event by living up to the advanced billing. Now, looking forward, if I’m HBO, I utilize Gonzalez – who generally stays active by today’s standards – as often as possible on shows such as its July 25 card, which has light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev facing Nadjib Mohammedi, that will need as much help as possible in both selling tickets and driving a television audience.

 

As my press row colleague, the Orange County Register’s Mark Whicker, dubbed him, Gonzalez is the “Little Drama Show.” On this night, Gonzalez and Golovkin provided the best one-two punch at the Forum since Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

 

– Speaking of Gonzalez, there was more than just a handful of Nicaraguan fans at the Forum this weekend. It’s clear; he does have a bit of a constituency out here and it’s not inconceivable that a rematch with WBA/WBO beltholder Juan Francisco Estrada could actually headline at the StubHub Center in Carson. When they first met in Nov. of 2012, there was a few thousand in attendance at the LA Sports Arena on a card broadcast on Wealth TV (now AWE).

 

It says here that Gonzalez-Estrada II should be the headliner on “Boxing After Dark.”

 

– The official attendance was announced at 12,372 – just a few hundred short of a complete sell-out. Yeah, Golovkin is now a bona fide ticket seller. K2 Promotions’ Managing Director Tom Loeffler, who has made it clear that they will continue on the same path they have over the past few years in terms of activity, announced to the media a few minutes after Golovkin’s latest conquest that they would be looking for a September return.

 

And Loeffler is well aware that a bout between middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez would be on the docket for the fall. As for the WBC’s stance on this, organization president Mauricio Sulaiman told UCNLive.com late Saturday evening, “As long as there is an agreement and the winner must fight Golovkin.” As where K2 would stand on all this, Sulaiman made it clear, “They have to be part of the agreement.”

 

Regardless, Golovkin will continue to fight every few months for the time being.

 

– Going back to Golovkin’s ticket selling prowess, who are the real attractions in North America? Off the top of my head I’d go with: Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Cotto, “Canelo,” Terence Crawford, Wladimir Klitschko, Jose Ramirez (who is selling an unprecedented number of tickets for a guy headlining on UniMas) and who else?

 

I do think guys like Felix Verdejo and Deontay Wilder will soon be on that list.

 

– I was told by a few of my friends who attended the fight that Leo Santa Cruz was being heckled at the Forum. Yeah, it’s clear that the Mexican fan-base (and I’d estimate that at least two-thirds of this crowd was Mexican) has turned on him because of his recent spate of soft opposition and his association with Al Haymon. As his name was announced before the main event, you could hear more than just a smattering of boos.

 

Yeah, Mexicans love their boxers. They can also be very tough on them.

 

 

FINAL FLURRIES

 

Thought Antonio Orozco took a step up as he beat Emmanuel Taylor in a closely contested fight on Friday evening…We had a great tailgate going for the fights on Saturday till Inglewood’s finest showed up and shut us down. What a buzzkill…Yeah, the Clippers absolutely blew it. That Game Six loss just might be the worst in franchise history, which is really saying something…I’m sure dozens of ticket buyers are crestfallen that the bout between Paulie Malignaggi and Danny O’Connor has been scrapped…OK, there’s no way they kill off Deacon Claybourne on ABC’s “Nashville.” I think his sister, Beverly O’Connor (no relation to Danny), dies…I can be reached at steve.kim@ucnlive.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.

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