Nights like last Saturday prove to be the BEST fodder for fans who need a response to the ever-growing (ever-ridiculous) “boxing is dead” mantra that just won’t quit. We all knew that GGG was going to bring it (because really, has there ever been a time when he hasn’t), but I’m not sure that anyone was prepared for the show that was put on by Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. In his debut on American television, the Nicaraguan heavy hitter stopped Edgar Sosa (and I use the term “stopped,” VERY loosely, y’all. More like damn near ended) in the second round of the bout using a relentless flurry of punches.
Almost as interesting as the KO itself was the manner in which Chocolatito conducted himself afterward. Much like Canelo the week before, Chocolatito displayed great concern and care for his opponent; he stood near him after the KO, had his arm around him, and even rubbed his head in a gesture of friendship (huh huh). It appears as though the up and comers are cut from a different cloth from their predecessors, and we could be moving away from the days of the victor walking away from the, um, not victor, arms stretched toward the sky in jubilation all the while ignoring the grim scene behind him. (But isn’t that one of the things that is so loved about boxing? The great juxtaposition of the victor shamelessly celebrating a win, refusing to allow the grisly scene of defeat staring him in the face to mar the sweetness of the moment? While all the while knowing that the next time the roles could very well be reversed? But I digress.)
In his speech after the win, Chocolatito said that this was the reason he gets up at 4:00 in the morning to go to the gym, that this moment made it all worth it. I think that this kid is destined for greatness, folks. And I also think it’s going to be an amazing ride on the way there. A fellow blogger (though I’m nowhere near the same league as him or his work, but if you haven’t yet checked out Saturday Night Boxing, you’re missing out) tweeted that he’d like to see Chocolatito on the same four times a year on HBO plan as GGG, and I couldn’t agree with him more.
Gennady Golovkin vs Willie Monroe
I’d be extremely remiss in not mentioning the fact that we (or I at least) saw a different GGG than I’m used to last week. Yes, he was still a powerhouse. And a beast. And a badass. And every other adjective that could possibly be used in conjunction with his name. But he was also something else on Saturday, if even just for a millisecond-vulnerable. The fight started out the way that most expected it to-with Monroe on the canvas in the second round. (Not gonna lie, I had to work on Sunday and the thought of having two fights end in an explosive fashion in 30 minutes total was pretty appealing.)
But then Monroe got up. And went down again. And got up again (much to the surprise of the masses) and continued to fight. The guy showed a ton of heart, and even though it was clear that he was in over his head, gave it a really good go. He also nailed GGG a few times with some hard shots, and at one point it seemed as though GGG was standing in front of him and allowing himself to be hit as a strategy to wane Monroe’s confidence. True, GGG was pretty much walking through the punches, but it was apparent when he retreated to his corner that he was hurt. It was actually even evident during the ring, although scarce.
Despite his best attempts, GGG dominated Monroe in the 6th round, forcing him to the canvas. Monroe stayed down until the ref counted to 9, and after being chided for waiting too long to get up and asked if he could continue, Monroe uttered, “I’m done.”
I’ve seen several people talk nonsense on social media about how Monroe “quit,” and while that’s all fine and good, I would challenge any of those people to continue going another six rounds with GGG after the beatdown that Monroe faced in the first half of that fight. Say what you will, but my ass would have been done halfway through the ring walk. It was an exceptional night for boxing, y’all. Whether you believe it was resurrected, zombified, or is as it’s always been, only this time with one new star shining much brighter.