Willie Monroe Jr. says he wants to give Saunders payback for loss
By Scott Gilfoid: Former two-time world title challenger Willie Monroe Jr. (22-3, 6 KOs) says he’s gunning for a rematch with WBO middleweight champion after his 12 round unanimous decision loss to him last year in September in a fight that took place in London, UK. Monroe, 31, says he didn’t like the way he was treated during his visit to the UK for the Saunders fight.
Saunders’ son punched Monroe Jr. in the groin and kicked him. Monroe says a fan threw beer at him while he was there. When Monroe Jr. got to the arena for the fight, he says he was forced to sit in his van for 20 minutes because Saunders’ son was waiting out in front by the door. Monroe Jr. believes that he was waiting to go after him again, and he refused to enter the arena until he was taken away from the entrance. All in all, Monroe Jr. didn’t like the way he was treated when he was in the UK, and he felt that they were trying to gain an edge for Saunders so he could win. Monroe Jr. says if he fights Saunders in a rematch in the UK, he wants it to be on an Eddie Hearn card, because he feels there will be a lot more people there than the 4,000 that came to his fight.
“When I was over there the way I was treated and the way things were handled,” Monroe Jr. said to Fighthype about how he was treated while he was in the UK for the Saunders fight. ”I wasn’t well-promoted that has any power to say, ‘Don’t treat my fighter like that.’ I’m not making any excuses. When you got fans throwing beer at you and you got people waiting outside of your hotel room. My publicist had to come outside of my hotel room and tell gypsies. He almost got in a fight with a group of gypsies. ‘Why are you hanging around outside of his hotel room?’” Monroe Jr. said.
You can argue that there should have been more supervision to prevent Saunders’ kid from kicking and punching Monroe Jr. during the press conference. That’s a given. But that’s not the reason why Monroe Jr. lost the fight to Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs). He lost because he wasn’t throwing punches. Monroe Jr. was fighting in a safety-first manner almost the entire fight. Monroe Jr. had the speed and power advantage, and yet he wasn’t using it the way he needed to for him to win.
Monroe Jr. thinks he can get a rematch with Saunders if he wins one of the middleweight title belts. Unfortunately for Monroe, there aren’t any middleweight titles that he would have any real chance of winning. Gennady Golovkin holds 3 of the 4 titles at 160, and Saunders has the other. Monroe Jr. was already knocked out in the 6th round by Golovkin in May 2015, and a rematch would likely play out in the same way. Golovkin might even jump on Saunders earlier in the rematch and bang him out of there in the 1st or 2nd round rather than giving him a lot of respect and waiting until the 6th. Monroe Jr. isn’t rated in the World Boxing Organization’s top 15, so that rules out him getting another title shot against Saunders through the traditional way. Saunders’s time as the WBO 160lb champion is about up. As soon as he fights Golovkin in a unification match, it’s game over for him. Golovkin will chase him around the ring and likely knock him out. Saunders is little more than a paper champion, who is only holding the WBO title because he fought Andy Lee instead of Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, Daniel Jacobs or Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Had Saunders had to fight one of those guys for the WBO belt, he surely would have been beaten.
”The kid [Saunders’ son] kicking me in the nuts, punching me in the nuts,” Monroe Jr. said. ”When we got to the arena, the kid was waiting at the door. I had to sit in my van for 20 minutes, saying, ‘I’m not going inside the arena until you tell his son to move.’ He just kicked me in the nuts and punched me in the nuts, and now I got to pull up to the arena and see the guy waiting for me. They understand, ‘this Willie Monroe can fight, so we’re going to have to make him as uncomfortable in so many ways to eke out a win with this dude, because we know if we go in there skill for skill, mind for mind with Willie Monroe with no advantages anywhere else, we can’t beat thus dude,’” Monroe Jr. said.
In a professional atmosphere there should have been supervision to keep Saunders’ kid from getting at Monroe. You can understand why Monroe Jr. would be upset about it. He was in a situation where he wasn’t comfortable. It’s understandable. Monroe’s biggest problem wasn’t Saunders’ kid on the night. It was the fact that he didn’t let his hands go during the fight. In the 12th, Monroe Jr. finally went on the attack and he got the better of Saunders quite easily and had him looking scared. If Monroe Jr. had fought like that in the previous 11 rounds, he would have won the fight with ease. He had the physical skills to win the fight, but mentally he wasn’t making the right decisions by holding back. Monroe never adapted at all during the fight by throwing more punches, and that’s the reason he lost. It’s too bad because Monroe will probably never get another shot at Saunders. Once Saunders is beaten by GGG and sent back into the contender ranks, he’ll be quickly forgotten and likely spend the rest of his career fighting domestic level guys, trying hard to get another chance to win a title but failing. If Saunders has to fight one of the good contenders to get a crack at a world title, like Jacobs, Derevyanchenko or Charlo, he’ll lose badly to them in my view. Monroe Jr. is wasting his time thinking of a rematch with Saunders, because very soon he’s no longer going to be relevant. He’ll be yesterday’s news, I hate to say.
”It’s cool. I got out of contract,” Monroe Jr. said about him leaving his last promoter. ”I signed with Al [Haymon]. If I grab one of those belts, maybe I can get a rematch with him, and I’ll take my ass out to London to fight him. If I fight him, it’s going to have to be on an Eddie Hearn card, because Eddie Hearn throws big cards and here will be a lot of people there. I don’t have to worry about being in a small arena with gypsies, threatening to kill my family while I’m over there. I don’t have to have that on my mind, and I won’t be in an arena with 4000 people. It’ll be 30,000 people. I don’t have anything bad to say about the gypsies. They did what they had to do for their fighter to win. That’s what they mean when they say, ‘A-side and B-side.’ That’s something we had to deal with. They [Saunders] forced to fight by the WBO. Before that fight, I was turned down by them twice,” Monroe Jr. said.
Saunders is with promoter Frank Warren, so a fight between him and Monroe Jr. won’t be taking place on a Matchroom Boxing card. Monroe Jr. needs to understand that. If a rematch between him and Saunders takes place, it’ll be on a Warren card. Like I said, I don’t think it’s worth it for Monroe to even be thinking about a rematch with Saunders, because pretty soon it won’t matter. Saunders will likely lose his WBO title as soon as he faces Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade or Daniel Jacobs. The WBO currently has Andrade rated No.1 and Jacobs No.2. I think both of those guys will beat Saunders. I also see Maciej Sulecki and Derevyanchenko beating him as well. Those are all fighters ranked in the WBO’s top 15. But by the time those guys finally get a crack at the WBO title, I think Saunders will be ancient history as the champion. Golovkin will fight him soon and that’ll be it, I hate to say. Saunders is a good basic fighter, but he’s not in the same league as guys like GGG, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Derevyanchenko, Sulecki, Jacobs, Charlo and Andrade. Those guys are too good for him. I would also favor some of the 154lb fighters to beat Saunders, like Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara, Jaime Munguia and Jarrett Hurd.