By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Abel Sanchez clarified what he thinks Gennady Golovkin meant when his fighter revealed he allowed Willie Monroe Jr. to hit him during a May 16 bout Golovkin won by sixth-round technical knockout.
“It’s not that he allowed Willie to punch him,” said Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer. “He just lost a little focus. He just allowed the fight to go on. But it’s not that he put his head out there to be hit. He just wanted to experience a little more. But it wasn’t that he allowed [it]. Willie was a very good fighter and obviously a very good fighter is going to land some punches.”
Sanchez suspects that because Golovkin’s previous fight – an embarrassingly easy second-round knockout of Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rubio (59-8-1, 51 KOs) last Oct. 18 at StubHub Center in Carson, California – was so short that the Kazakhstan native wanted to give fans more rounds for their money when he fought Monroe (19-2, 6 KOs) at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
“My take on that is that Rubio only went two rounds in Los Angeles and Gennady wanted to give the fans a little [more],” Sanchez said. “Certainly, he’s not taking anything [away from] Willie Monroe. Willie Monroe is a great fighter. I think a lot of people underestimated him. He won the Boxcino tournament. He beat a lot of good fighters coming up. But I don’t think Gennady pressed it like he could’ve after he knocked him down during the second round.”
Golovkin dropped Monroe twice in the second round, but didn’t stop the contender from Rochester, N.Y., until four rounds later, when Monroe informed referee Jack Reiss that he didn’t want to continue after suffering his third knockdown of the fight.
The 33-year-old Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs), the interim WBC/WBA “super” middleweight champion, will meet Montreal’s David Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs), the IBF 160-pound champion, in a 12-round title unification fight Saturday night at Madison Square Garden (HBO-Pay-Per-View; $59.99 in HD; 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.