By Jake Donovan
Moral victories are still losses, but it's one that Donovan George will undoubtedly treasure. The Chicagoland veteran was forced to bite down and fight through a damaged right hand, but showing bravery for days as Sean Monaghan was able to slug his way to a 10-round decision win Friday evening at Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, New York.
Scores were 100-90 (twice) and 99-91 in favor of the unbeaten light heavyweight from the Long Beach section of Long Island, New York.
Neither fighter threatened to turn the fight into a boxing match, as it was nothing but power punches from the opening bell. George did his best to hold his own, fighting a full division above his super middleweight frame and also coming off a 14-month layoff.
Through just two rounds of action, he was also forced to overcome an injury to his surgically repaired right hand, as if his night wasn't already difficult enough going against the house favorite.
Monaghan overcame adversity of his own, as he was cut over his right eye as the result of a headbutt in round two. Still, the local favorite appeared on his way to a stoppage win, landing at will against his one-handed opponent. The hand injury became apparent to the point of the ringside physician requesting that time be called prior to the start of round five to examine George.
The session was met with a lot of resistance from the proud brawler, who demanded he go out on his shield rather than on an injury stoppage. Referee Eddie Claudio - who did a superb job of letting the fight play its course all night - assured George that he wouldn't prematurely stop the fight.
It was enough for George to dig deep and prove to the officials there was plenty of fight left in him. Biting down through the pain, the wounded challenger let loose with right hand shots throughout an action packed round five, much to the surprise of Monaghan, who had sensed a stoppage was well within sight.
Instead, the unbeaten 34-year old contender was forced to trade for 10 hard rounds. Even though the final scorecards read a landslide win, George made Monaghan work for it over 30 hard minutes of action.
Monaghan advances to 26-0 (16KOs) with the win. With busloads of fans making the trek from Long Island to the intimate Brooklyn venue, Top Rank would like to continue to develop the New Yorker as a regional draw, although there have been talks of his potentially moving towards a title shot in 2016.
As for George, more rest and rehabilitation is in his future. The Chicago slugger falls to 25-5-2 (22KOs), and coming off of a 14-month break - largely due to a suspension for a failed drug test following his 12-round win-turned-No-Contest versus Dyah Davis last August - will now have to sit on the sidelines to allow his injured hand to fully heal.
Opening the telecast, unbeaten Brad Solomon scored a 10-round decision over welterweight trialhorse Raymond 'Tito' Serrano. Scores were 100-90, 98-92 and 97-93.
The bout was more competitive than the final scores indicated, and in no way, shape or form did Solomon pitch a shutout. Serrano had his say early in the fight, and was arguably cheated out of a knockdown call in round two. Solomon literally leaped into a left hand, getting knocked off balance.
However, referee Harvey Dock ruled that Serrano's follow through in pushing his left under Solomon's chin is what caused the fall, thus not ruling it a knockdown call. It hardly mattered in the end, as Solomon quickly turned the tide and eventually took over the fight.
Serrano never quite backed off, but also seemed to settle for the opponent role once Solomon was able to settle into a groove. The Philly-Rican boxer was urged to go for a knockout in the 10th and final round, but instead boxed his way to the final bell in allowing his three-fight win streak to come to a close.
Solomon advances to 26-0 (9KOs), but the 32-year old welterweight from Louisiana has reached s(p)it-or-get-off-the-pot status as his near-eight year career has been stuck in neutral. Serrano drops to 21-3 (9KOs).
Both fights aired live in the latest installment of Top Rank's
MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout
series on truTV.
Unbeaten cruiserweight Joseph Williams pitched a six-round shutout versus determined but overmatched Joey Montoya (9-3-3, 3KOs). Scores were 60-53 across the board for Williams, who hails from the Far Rockaway section of Queens, New York, roughly a 30 minute drive (or a one-hour subway ride) away from the venue. Montoya was decked in round three, but managed to hang in to hear the final bell.
Steven Ortiz (2-0, 0KOs) cruised to a four-round unanimous decision over Thomas Smith (1-2-1). Scores were 40-36 across the board for the rookie lightweight from Philadelphia.
John Joe Nevin (5-0, 4KOs) picked up his second straight win in Brooklyn, both of which have come via 3rd round knockout. The latest came in stopping Jose Guzman in the opening bout of the evening. Nevin, who claimed a Silver medal for Ireland in the 2012 London Olympics, is slated to return in just two weeks on a show in Philadelphia versus an opponent to be determined.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox