Barring an upset that would go down as one of boxing biggest in recent years, the question may not be whether Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (32-0, 29 KOs) can beat Willie Monroe Jr. (19-1, 6 KOs), but rather, can the American be competitive long enough to snap the Kazakh’s 19-match knockout streak.
The combatants will step into the ring Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California, with Golovkin a massive -5000 favorite and Monroe way down as a +1400 underdog.
His perfect record notwithstanding, the 33-year-old Golovkin is so heavily favored because of his immense punching power, earning the reputation in some circles as the middleweight version of former great Mike Tyson.
And it’s not as if Golovkin strictly tries to take an opponent’s head off with a single blow. He’s a well-schooled fighter who meticulously attacks his opponents from all angles. In June 2013, Golovkin reduced British brawler Matthew Macklin to a quivering heap on the mat with a right and left hook combination to the body, the type of heavy handed power rarely seen in the division.
Golovkin’s last opponent, Great Britain’s Martin Murray, was the only fighter to last into the 11th round, while Uganda’s Kassim Ouma was the only other opponent during the power streak to get into the double-digit rounds. Both would end the same way, technical knockouts after far too much punishment.
Monroe, 28, is a native of Rochester, New York, and is known as a defensive specialist. The southpaw typically keeps opponents at bay with his 74-inch reach and typically towers over most in the weight class at 5-foot-10. Yet the Monroe’s style and lack of quality opponents during his career take some luster off his one-loss record.
Most recently, Monroe counterpunched his way to a unanimous decision over Bryan Vera after 10 full rounds in January. But Vera was coming off two consecutive losses to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and he’s lost nine total fights in his career.
Prior to Vera, Monroe did take down the previously undefeated Brandon Adams and Vitaliy Kopylenko via unanimous decisions, however those came on the heels of wins over four-loss Donatas Bondorovas, 10-loss Miguel Alvarez, and 35-loss Toris Smith.
The only loss of Monroe’s career was a split decision to Darnell Boone, who’s six years his elder and has an unimpressive career record of 21-21-4. Monroe may have his hands full against Golovkin, having never faced any fighter quite like him before. He will likely need to provide the best defensive performance of his career to keep the fight competitive and to avoid a knockout.