Willie Monroe Jr got back into the ring and back into the winner’s circle tonight in Verona, New York, outpointing John Thompson in a middleweight bout on Showtime Extreme. Monroe scored two knockdowns and won on scores of 95-93, 96-92, and 99-89. BLH scored the fight 98-90 for Monroe.
Monroe (20-2, 6 KO) put Thompson (17-3, 6 KO) down in the second and fifth rounds, but did coast through most of the second half of the fight, playing keep-away for much of it, especially in the final three rounds. That made this an odd fight where I could honestly see 95-93 and 99-89 both being reasonable scores; it depends on how much you hated Monroe’s perhaps overly cautious game plan in the second half of the fight.
But Monroe was sharp, looked quick, and was clearly the all around better fighter here, and deserved the win without question. He didn’t look like he'd been out of the ring for a year, or like he got pretty brutally whaled on by Gennady Golovkin. He’ll move forward as a fringe contender at 160 for now, but could find himself back in a bigger fight by the end of this year. He’s got skills, plus a bit of name value, and frankly it’s hard to imagine top middleweights wanting to avoid him. He can box, but he’s beatable. A fight with someone like Peter Quillin or David Lemieux could be an interesting style clash.
In a heavyweight fight, Andrey Fedosov dropped Mario Heredia four times en route to a sixth round TKO victory, a fight that showed us that Heredia does indeed have legitimate talent, and that he is indeed his own worst enemy. We talked about his issues with weight during the week, how sometimes he has weighed in around 230 pounds and other times around 290, and how that pointed to a lack of discipline.
Well, Heredia (13-2, 11 KO) was 286 for this fight, and it caught up to him big time. He started the fight very well, jabbing effectively in the first round, and it was a heavy, sharp jab, too, not just a range finder. He demonstrated some solid hand speed, decent footwork, and an ability to control range.
In the second, Fedosov (29-3, 24 KO) got going a bit more, and from there the rout was on. Heredia was down in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds, before the referee called a halt to the fight. And it genuinely looked like more than anything, even more than the solid shots that Fedosov was landing, and even some real bombs, it was Heredia’s weight that beat him. On the final knockdown, he was hit with a thudding left inside, then leaned straight back to avoid a follow-up shot, which did miss, but he fell over anyway. He just wasn’t able to keep himself up anymore, and though he wasn’t badly hurt — relatively speaking, anyway — the referee was right to stop the fight.
Fedosov, 30, was in his first fight in 13 months, and with the way the heavyweight division is right now, could find himself in a significant fight by the end of the year. He's tough and a good inside fighter with power. Heredia, 23, will likely fade into obscurity sooner than later, which is a shame. The talent is clear, but the lack of dedication is even clearer.