Monaghan on Browne fight: 'May best man win'

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Light heavyweight contender Seanie Monaghan thought he was going to get the chance of a lifetime: a world title shot against champion Adonis Stevenson.

Their camps worked long and hard to make a deal under which Stevenson would come from Montreal to defend against Monaghan on his turf on New York’s Long Island at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, which reopened in April following a $170 million renovation.

But the deal for the fight, initially planned for April 29 and then May 27, ultimately fell apart, and Stevenson instead defended his title by an easy second-round knockout of Andrzej Fonfara in a rematch in Montreal this past Saturday.

With few other options, Monaghan accepted a fight with up-and-comer Marcus Browne, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, a few weeks ago. The July 15 fight, part of the first boxing card at the arena since Mike Tyson fought there in 1986, is very risky for Monaghan — and it doesn’t carry the possible life-changing reward of a world title.

But when Monaghan and Browne met at the kickoff news conference on Tuesday at the arena to promote the Premier Boxing Champions tripleheader (Fox and Fox Deportes, 8 p.m. ET), Monaghan found the silver lining.

“I’ve been chipping away at a title fight for a long time. When they asked me about Marcus, I first was thinking that it wasn’t the fight I wanted,” Monaghan said. “At this point in the game, it’s may the best man win.

“We might have to pull back a little bit because we already did a five-week training camp when I thought I was fighting Adonis Stevenson, which turned out to be a good thing. He’s a southpaw just like Marcus, so we were already sparring with a lot of really good southpaws.”

While Monaghan, 35, is a brawler with a big heart but limited skills, Browne, 26, has skills and power, not to mention a size and youth advantage. However, Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs), the underdog, said he plans to impose himself on Browne (19-0, 14 KOs).

“Marcus does everything well. He’s fast, he’s slick, and he punches pretty hard,” Monaghan said. “I like to fight and come forward and make it that kind of rough style on fight night. I’ve mastered the ability to control my emotions on fight night. I’m a professional in my 29th fight, so it’s not my first time at the rodeo. This is strictly business. It’s my time.”

The welterweight main event will feature former world titleholders Omar Figueroa (26-0-1, 18 KOs) and Robert Guerrero (33-5-1, 18 KOs) in a 10-round fight, and there is an all-Polish heavyweight fight between former world title challenger Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs) and Adam Kownacki (15-0, 12 KOs) to serve as the televised opener, but it is really the co-feature between Monaghan, a popular Long Island draw, and Staten Island’s Browne, that will sell the bulk of the tickets. That’s why Monaghan and Browne starred at the news conference that Figueroa and Guerrero did not attend.

Monaghan and Browne have been friendly and have sparred together, but Browne said that is meaningless when it comes time to hurl punches at each other.

“Everyone knows that we know each other. But the buddy-buddy talk is out of the window. This is a fight,” Browne said. “We both have kids to feed. I have a destiny that is already written, and Seanie is in the way of that. Come July 15, my feelings about Seanie won’t mean a thing. I’m going to have to win. I know this guy trains like a dog, and he’s no pushover. All that sparring and stuff you’ve heard about doesn’t mean a thing. It’s just going to be me and him, and I have to win.

“I can’t wait to go to work. I’ve fought my friends before, and at the end of the day, it’s business. I’m going to become a world champion, and no one is stopping me. We have history, but it means nothing as of today and on July 15. This isn’t sparring. There are no do-overs. July 15 is going to be fireworks. I’m just blessed to be able to show my talents in this building. I wish I could wake up tomorrow, and it would be fight day. We aren’t friends on July 15. Staten Island is coming out on top over Long Island.”

Promoter Lou DiBella said he has no doubt that the winner will be headed to a world title fight.

“Seanie has been working his way up and just winning fight after fight,” DiBella said. “He’s been looking for a title shot for a long time. Marcus came into the pros with a lot of noise, but he’s kept winning at every step. This is going to be a really good fight, and I don’t think it’s going the distance. You can bank on the fact that the winner of this fight will get a shot at the light heavyweight championship of the world.”

Monaghan knows he is in for a tough fight against Browne, but he hopes the fight with Stevenson can finally be made if he wins.

“I definitely want Adonis Stevenson if I can get by Marcus,” he said. “That’s the fight everybody wants. I want to be a world champion, and I will be a world champion one day. This is a dream come true to fight at this venue. This is going to be the biggest night of my life. It’s do-or-die for me.”

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