The upcoming middleweight title bout between WBA/IBO champ Gennady Golovkin 32-0 (29) and southpaw Willie Monroe Jr. 19-1 (6) represents the classic boxer (Monroe) versus swarmer (Gokovkin) clash.
It’s also one of the match ups in which many cook-book boxing analyst will come out from under the woodwork to inject their perfect world strategy and fight plans. You know the ones who will either write an article or post a YouTube video which brilliantly, so they think, deduces how Golovkin has to force Monroe to the ropes and into the corners to be successful. Then in the next article/video they’ll suggest how in order for Monroe to have a chance to win, he’ll have to stay off the ropes and keep Golovkin at center ring. The words will flow and the video, if they make one, will incorrectly make you think they’re the wizard of boxing when it comes to breaking down a fight from an X’s and O’s vantage point.
The Golovkin-Monroe fight is a classic example in which pre-fight strategies won’t mean a thing if neither fighter, especially Monroe, doesn’t possess the needed physicality to implement and execute the winning battle plan. Monroe is a good boxer with quick hands who moves and utilizes the entire ring. The ideal fight for him if things are to go his way see him keeping Golovkin at the end of his punches as he’s scoring from outside and center ring without having to fight with his back against the ropes or in a corner.
Conversely, backing Monroe to the ropes and cornering him is Golovkin’s sole intention. Gennady wants to fight up close and on the inside. He wants Monroe to have to fight him off of him on the inside where Monroe’s jab and movement are nullified, and the fight becomes a battle of hooks and uppercuts. Which usually results with the fighter who owns the bigger guns, Golovkin, winning.
When a “boxer” like Monroe faces a “swarmer” like Golovkin, in order for the boxer to be effective he must possess enough power to where he keeps the swarmer honest so he can’t just walk him down as if he’s handcuffed. Nothing breaks me up more than when I’ve heard it said over the years that Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes couldn’t punch because they didn’t score picturesque knockouts like George Foreman and Earnie Shavers often did. Today the same asinine thing is said about Floyd Mayweather, who many believe is the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. My retort to that is, if Ali and Holmes couldn’t bust a grape, why didn’t George and Earnie go after them as if they had no arms and punch them all over the ring? Why didn’t Cotto or Maidana go after Mayweather as if he were handcuffed? If you don’t know, and you might not, I’ll tell you why they didn’t; because Muhammad, Larry and Floyd hit plenty hard enough to the point that their powerful and aggressive opponents couldn’t attack them blindly without getting hurt themselves.
Mark my words, Monroe might be the smoothest and slickest fighter in boxing, but if he doesn’t punch hard enough to give Golovkin the slightest bit of concern, then what? What’s to stop Golovkin from just walking him down to the point to where there’s nowhere for him to go – then blasting him with his finishing shots? And from what we’ve seen Gennady doesn’t have to land punches in bunches to hurt his opponents.
I saw that Monroe said on the Boxing Channel that his bout with Golovkin, “Will be a physical chess match.” Oh how wrong he is! Golovkin isn’t going to even attempt to out-think Monroe, no sir. He’s going to feel what he has in the first round and gauge to himself if there’s anything coming back at him that he needs to be leery of. And if there’s not, he’ll raise the rent and force Monroe to fight, and that’s when we’ll find out if Willie has the other requisite tool needed to beat Golovkin, and that’s a good chin. Yes, when a “boxer” fights an attacker, the boxer needs enough punch to impede the swarmers aggression, if only for a second…..and he also needs a chin to keep him upright when the big punching attacker lands on him.
Just because a fighter is a “boxer,” it doesn’t mean he can’t punch (although sometimes that is the case). It just means he’s not a life-taker. If Monroe is to beat or even compete with Golovkin, he needs enough punch so Gennady doesn’t throw caution to the wind and he needs a strong chin for when GGG lands a few good ones, because he will. And a lot of that is because some swarmers are too strong to box, and I’m betting Golovkin is one of them. When a good boxer meets a good swarmer, which isn’t often because there’s a dearth of outstanding swarmers fighting in 2015, the X’s and O’s go out the window if the “boxer” doesn’t possess enough punch to give the swarmer/fighter something to think about. Which is something the YouTube video boxing gurus never take into account because they usually don’t know. Fights are not decided on paper or mapped out by an instructional video. They take place at the speed of live where each fighters’ physicality dictates who’s going to execute the X’s and O’s.
I have no doubt that Willie Monroe Jr. knows what he needs to do and how to fight Gennady Golovkin. But if he doesn’t possess the requisite tools mentioned above to apply what he knows, Gennady will find that out in not too much time, and then he’ll start executing his X’s that will stop Monroe’s O’s!
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com