Light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (10-0, 7 KOs) will make his first appearance as a professional at the main arena in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night when he fights Santos Martinez (2-2, 2 KOs) in a contest scheduled for six rounds. The fight is on the undercard of the much-anticipated light middleweight rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
The whole card was in some doubt last week after the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) ordered Margarito to be medically evaluated for an injury he picked up to his right eye last year. After a few tense days the Mexican was finally given his license to fight in New York, which was a huge relief to all involved, Monaghan included.
"We were waiting like everyone else, and we couldn't find out any information on what was happening," Monaghan told the Irish Voice on Monday.
The Long Island native, who is trained by Joe Higgins, fought in the WaMu Theater last month, but this will be his first appearance as a professional in the main hall at the mecca of boxing, something that is a source of real pride and excitement for him.
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"Oh my God, I am trying not to think about it too much. Most guys never get the chance to fight in the Garden, and it will be something I can tell my children about in years to come," he said.
Monaghan will bring along his usual passionate and vociferous supporters. He said that he sold every ticket that he got and could have moved more, except that his relatively late addition to the card meant that most tickets were spoken for at that stage.
Facing him in the other corner will be the 34-year-old Martinez who is based out of Adrian, Michigan. Monaghan admits that he would have preferred a tougher opponent for the fight, but he says he prepared for the assignment as if he was "fighting the world champion" and is eager to put on a good showing.
Monaghan sparred with Yonkers-based Dublin professional heavyweight Tom Hardwick to prepare for the fight and wrapped up his contact work on Tuesday with a session against Olympic-bound amateur Marcus Browne.
Monaghan shared a card with Martinez in Brooklyn in July, when he beat Brian Bernard by first round knockout and Martinez lost to Joe Smith, Jr., an old amateur foe of Monaghan, by KO in the second round. Monaghan has set himself a target for this weekend.
"I am hoping to KO him faster and better (than Smith did)," he said, though he does not want to be reckless while trying to be exciting. "I will box smart and be defensive."
Monaghan, who says he is in top shape for this assignment, will spend the rest of the week coming down to weight for the fight (175 pounds, plus one) and hopes to do it well so he can make a big impression on the biggest stage of all.
This will be his second consecutive fight on a Top Rank-promoted card, and with his exciting style and considerable following Monaghan is building up an impressive resume.
Another victory on Saturday night will bolster his credentials further. All going well, Monaghan plans to take a short break before beginning preparations for a possible fight in late January.
The lines of communication between his team and that of Irish light heavyweight champion Ciaran Healy are still open, though Monaghan will have to get one official eight round fight under his belt before he can pursue a challenge for the Belfast man's belt.
First things first though, and Monaghan will aim to give his team and fans the perfect holiday treat with a big win at the Garden this weekend.
In other news, Irish Canadian super featherweight Logan Cotton McGuinness (16-0-1, 7 KOs) was named the North American Boxing Association’s fighter of the year for 2011.
“I defended the NABA lightweight title twice since winning it in September (2010) and won the NABA super featherweight title as well. Hopefully, I’ll defend that belt once or twice and then reach the ultimate goal of fighting for the world title,” said the 24-year-old last week.
“I’m excited to see what happens in 2012. I may be fighting March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and that would be a dream come true.”
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