Tom HardwickIrish Voice

Light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (12-0, 8 KOs) and heavyweight Tom Hardwick (4-0, 2 KOs) know who they will face when they fight on separate bouts on the undercard of the Matthew Macklin/Sergio Martinez fight at Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s night.

Monaghan will face Eric Watkins (6-1) in a fight scheduled for eight rounds.  The Irish Voice caught up with Monaghan on Monday to find out how his preparations have been going.

“I don’t know too much about him (Watkins).  He was a cruiserweight, and he has comes down to 175 pounds,” said Monaghan. “ He has never fought outside of West Virginia, but I don’t know if he has fought anyone that good.”

Monaghan has been training hard in recent weeks for the fight, and track workouts have knocked him back into shape as he prepares for his 13th outing as a professional.

The Long Beach, Long Island native has been sparring Joe Smith, Jr. and Hardwick in preparation for the fight, but the big news coming out of camp Monaghan this week is the deal he just reached with his newest sparring partner.

“I am going up to Connecticut to spar with Chad Dawson to help him get ready for his fight with Bernard Hopkins on April 28 in Atlantic City,” he said.

Monaghan is looking forward to honing his skills with WBC light heavyweight titleholder as Dawson readies himself for a rematch with the 47-year-old Hopkins.

“This is the top of the food chain in the light heavyweight division,” said the 30-year-old Monaghan, who added that part of the deal he struck with Dawson’s manager to spar with the New Haven resident was a place on the undercard of the fight.

Monaghan went on to say that he would love to share the same card as the legendary Hopkins and talented Dawson.  However, he also has a pre-arranged trip to Puerto Rico planned with his wife in the weeks leading up to the April date, so he will have to see if he can work the Atlantic City fight into his schedule.

Meanwhile, Hardwick (4-0) will face Blu Delong (0-3) in a contest scheduled for four rounds.

“He is bigger than me and I think he might be fast, but I don’t know how much leverage he has,” Hardwick told the Irish Voice about his opponent.

The Dubliner is training hard for the fight at the New York Sports Lab in Midtown with trainer Matthew "Sykes" Olszewski, and he has stepped up the intensity in the past week by taking a break from his day job in construction.

“I finished work on Friday, so I am training full time.  Taking off work has given me the extra time to get fitter,” he says.

Hardwick and Sykes are working on his stamina and ringmanship ahead of the fight.

“ I don’t want to be chasing him around the ring, I want to cut the ring off,” he said.

The 27-year-old has been sparring with heavyweight Tor Hamer and Monaghan in preparation for the fight.

“We want to keep improving.  I know I am not the most skillful fighter in the world.  I know my heart is there, but I want to be able to beat guys with skill before I have to go to war,” Hardwick says.

Hardwick went on to say that the right ankle he sprained during his last fight on January 21 is on the mend and that he is raring to go on March 17.

Meanwhile, Matthew Macklin will hold a media workout day on Wednesday, February 29 at the Trinity Gym as he prepares for his date with Sergio Martinez.  More on that next week.  Tickets for the fight are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Finally, Andy Lee (27-1, 19 KOs) will fight Alexis Hloros (16-4-2) at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan and not the Cobo Center in Detroit as originally planned.