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Willie Monroe Jr. vs. John Thompson results


By Allan Fox: 29-year-old former middleweight world title challenger Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2, 6 KOs) got back to his winning ways last Saturday night in defeating John Thompson (17-3, 6 KOs) by an impressive 10 round unanimous decision in a fight televised by Showtime Boxing on their Showtime Extreme at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, New York.

Monroe Jr. was credited with two knockdowns in the fight in the 2nd and 5th rounds. Both knockdowns were questionable, however. The first knockdown came from a cuffing left hook in round two in which Monroe’s left wrist brought Thompson down. Monroe’s glove never made contact with Thompson’s head.

Monroe’s left wrist cuffed Thompson to the canvas. The knockdown still counted. In the 5th round, Monroe hit Thompson with a hard right jab to the head. Thompson’s lead foot got tangled with Monroe’s lead foot, causing him to go down at the same time he was being jabbed. It didn’t really matter that both knockdowns were questionable because Monroe Jr. dominated the entire fight with his quick combinations and counter punching.

Monroe Jr. had the faster hands and landed the bigger shots throughout the fight. After the second knockdown, Thompson was told by his corner to switch from fighting southpaw to orthodox. It didn’t really matter though, because Thompson did no better from the orthodox stance than he had in fighting with the southpaw stance. He was out of his league and it didn’t matter which stance he was in.

The judges’ scores were 95-93, 96-92, and 99-89, all for Monroe. Boxing News 24 gave Monroe Jr. all 10 rounds. There wasn’t a round in the fight that you could say conclusively that Thompson had won it. He was outclassed by the stronger guy in the fight. Monroe Jr. also looked a lot thicker when he stepped into the ring compared to Thompson.

It’s unclear how much the two fighters weighed on Saturday night, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Monroe Jr. had a 10-pound weight advantage at the least. Thompson has been fighting at junior middleweight, so it was a big step up for him to be fighting an experienced middleweight like Monroe. Thompson had been out of the ring for the past eight months since his 7th round knockout loss to Liam Smith last October. That was a fight for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title that Thompson lost.

Monroe Jr. chose not to go after Thompson after dropping him in the 2nd and 5th. It’s as if he knew that he had not hurt Thompson and he wasn’t going to take any chances of running into a shot while going after a guy that was not hurt. Monroe fought too timidly when he had the chance to try and finish the fight, especially in the second half.

Monroe Jr. was waiting too much for Thompson to throw something so that he could counter him. The waiting around made the fight slow in the last five rounds. Thompson wasn’t going to take any more chances after getting dropped for the second time in the fight in the fifth.

This was Monroe’s first fight back since his 6th round knockout loss to WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin last year in June. Monroe Jr. showed that he’s a very good fighter when matched against the right kind of guy. Golovkin toyed with Monroe Jr. and kept him around until the 6th before finishing him. Monroe Jr. quit after getting knocked down in that round. Monroe Jr. has the kind of talent that would enable him to compete against many of the best in the 160lb division. He just couldn’t handle dealing with GGG’s power or his boxing skills.

If Monroe is going to do anything with the remainder of his career, he can’t afford to sit outside of the ring for extended periods like he just did. Most fighters’ primes are so short, and it makes no sense for guys like Monroe to flush away one year of his prime doing nothing. Monroe could have fought three to four times in the time that he’s been out of the ring, and he likely would already be ranked in the top 5 and knocking on the door for another title shot. Instead of being ranked in the top 5 right now, Monroe is no longer ranked in the top 15 by any of the sanctioning bodies due to him being out of the ring for over one year.

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