The Man Who Would Be King: Can Willie Monroe Jr. Upset Gennady Golovkin?

It’s that spirit, he believes, that will see him through a fight withGolovkin, the amateur standout with thudding power, the most feared man in boxing. Those, Monroe believes, are just words. And words, powerful as they can be, don’t hurt.

“I’ve been doing this too long to let someone’s persona beat me before I get a chance to actually step in the ring with him,” Monroe said. “You hear what I’m saying? Look—I’m a firm believer in God. I’ve been through harder things in life, and God has brought me through. So why wouldn’t he bring me through this one? Why should this be any different? One of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced in my life was losing my grandfather in 2013. I’m not scared of anything.”

But while belief can power a fighter, making him capable of deeds otherwise unimaginable, it isn’t in itself a cogent strategy for success. Here, trainer Tony Morgan fills in some of the details.

By the Numbers: Willie Monroe Jr.
Height 5’10”
Weight 160
Reach 74
Stance Southpaw
Record 19-1, 6 KO
Resides Ithaca, NY
Age 28

“We’re going to go through and do what we do, and put the pieces of the puzzle together, and solve the puzzle that nobody seems to be able to do,” Morgan told the press in a media call. “I think the fight will truly be won by ring intelligence. I think what we bring to the table is something Gennady’s never seen and realistically can’t prepare for. I mean, there’s really only one Willie Monroe. There’s two guys, maybe three that mimic his style that is very fast, very elusive.”

Described almost ubiquitously as a “slick southpaw,” Monroe sees himself as next in a long line of defensive stylists that includes CharleyBurley, Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather Jr. When speed and power collide, he believes, speed has the natural advantage.

Boxing right now, it’s sad. It’s full of biological androids. Everybody wants to be rock-’em-sock-’em” Monroe said. “They forget they have feet. They forget that they have head movement. That they have other elements of defense. This is what makes Floyd Mayweather so great—he’s like the last of the Mohicans.

“People automatically think when two opposing forces collide, the stronger force is going to win. That this is an easy bet. But what happens when the stronger force is going at something and it’s not there? You’ve had 32 fights of swinging at targets that were there to be hit. What happens after six rounds of swinging at a target that’s not there? And when he makes you miss, he’s making you pay with five or six counters?”

There’s confidence in Monroe’s voice, but also a hint of defiance. Maybe even sadness. To win this fight, he’ll need to echo Mayweather’s game plan. That, though successful, isn’t always popular. If Monroe is to pull off the upset, he’ll need to do it in a style that will make him the most hated man in the sport.

He’s already crafted his defense.

“I’m going to hit you, and I’m going to make it incredibly difficult for you to hit me,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I’m scared. That means I’m smart. When you watch football, do they say ‘OK, I scored. Now I’m going to let you score so I can score again. I’ll score and then you’ll score and we’ll see who looks better scoring?’

“No. I’m going to score a touchdown, and when it’s your turn, I’m going to play defense to stop you from scoring. That’s sport. That’s how competition works.”


Source: Bleacherreport