Light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (11-0, 8 KOs) ended his year on a high note at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night when he knocked out Santos Martinez (2-3, 2 KOs) in the second round of their fight.
The 30-year-old fought on the undercard of the light middleweight rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, and the predominantly Puerto Rican crowd gave Monaghan his biggest shock of the evening before any leather was thrown.
"It was the first time I ever got booed before a fight, as Santos Martinez is from Puerto Rico and all the Puerto Rican fans were screaming for him. But I just got on with business," Monaghan told the Irish Voice on Monday.
Monaghan, from Long Island, was all business as he easily found his target with head shots throughout the round, so much so that it was almost target practice. Late in the first round the punches began to take a toll on Martinez.
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"I caught him with a left hook and I thought he was going down. He was out on his feet, but I made an amateur mistake and I backed off him,” Monaghan said.
Santos took a count and managed to survive the stanza, but the pummeling only continued in the second round. After finally heeding the pleas of trainer Joe Higgins, Sr. to stop headhunting and work the body, Monaghan connected with a terrific punch to his opponent’s mid-section with 2:56 gone in the round.
"I got him with a real nice one," he added. "I knew he wasn't getting up after that one."
Martinez didn't, and Monaghan notched up the 11th win of his professional career and won over the crowd in the process.
Monaghan has now fought and won seven times during 2011, but that constant training and preparation means it is now time for him to recharge the batteries.
"I need a mental and physical break," he sad. "What I would like to have is an eight-round fight in early February.”
The possibility of Monaghan, who holds an Irish passport, having a tilt at the Irish light heavyweight title, currently held by Ciaran Healy, is still on, but he will have to get at least one eight rounder on his resume to do so.
For now, Monaghan can enjoy Christmas after a busy year capped by a good win at the mecca of boxing.
“It was a great way to end the year and great to be there,” he said. “The arena was only about three-quarters full, but I was fighting in front of 15,000 people.”
In other news, lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (8-0, 3 KOs) will see action this weekend when he fights on the undercard of the light welterweight title fight between WBA champion Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson at the Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
At presstime, Kavanagh, who is trained by Freddie Roach, does not have a confirmed opponent, but he has been working hard at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles to ready himself.
"We've had a few opponents fall through. I don't know what the problem was," Kavanagh told the Irish Voice on Monday evening.
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The Dubliner is set to fight a six-rounder at a catchweight of 136 pounds and is itching to get back in the ring. Kavanagh had a fight set for late October, but after that fell through, he and his team decided to take up the option of helping Manny Pacquiao in training camp for his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Being in camp and working with Manny Pacquiao was great," he said. "Sparring with Manny Pacquiao is the equivalent of a six-round fight."
Since the Pacquiao training camp ended, Kavanagh has been sparring with Yuri Romanov, Ray Beltran and Francisco Vargas to prepare for this weekend's assignment.
Kavanagh will head home for a well-earned break next Sunday, but he will be back in LA to train in January. There is one fight card coming up in 2012 that he would like to be part of.
“I know Lou DiBella is promoting a card on St. Patrick’s Day in New York, and I would love to fight on the undercard of that,” he said.
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