Seanie Monaghan had just suffered the first loss of his career — a devastating second-round knockout at the hands of Marcus Browne back in July. To make things worse, it was the very first boxing card at the new Nassau Coliseum.
All he could think about was getting back in the ring.
“If they would have let me, I would have fought the next night,” said Monaghan, a 36-year-old light heavyweight contender from Long Beach. “I walked out of the dressing room undefeated, 10 minutes later I walk back with my first loss. All my fans were there. It has been haunting me ever since. When I wake up in the morning, it’s the first thing on my mind. I need to get back on the right track.”
Monaghan (28-1, 17 KOs) will have the chance to get back in the win column Saturday night at Barclays Center when he fights Evert Bravo (23-6, 17 KOs) on the undercard of the WBC heavyweight title fight between champion Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne.
Monaghan said that he had never been knocked down — in the gym or a real fight — prior to the Browne match. And fighting Browne never was in his immediate plans. They have long been friends and sparring partners. Monaghan originally was supposed to open the Coliseum by challenging WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, but Stevenson fought Andrzej Fonfara, an opponent he knocked out in 2014.
“That’s a fight, to be honest, neither one of us wanted,” Monaghan said. “It’s just risky, two undefeated guys risking everything they built up. I was thinking I am fighting Stevenson and honestly, Marcus is a trickier opponent. But I have no excuses for that night I was in great shape. I was ready mentally and physically, and Marcus just came out and caught me so quickly, I didn’t get a chance to get started.”
Monaghan admits that he has traditionally been a slow starter.
“Sometimes we work so hard at getting guys relaxed, in Sean’s case he may have been too relaxed,” said Joe Higgins, Monaghan’s trainer. “His sense of urgency might have been dulled a bit.”
Higgins, though, is encouraged by what he’s seen out of Monaghan since the loss. Monaghan was in the gym a week later and when it came time to spar, he didn’t shy away from getting hit. In fact, he tried to intentionally put himself back in the line of fire.
“He wanted to get back to work right away and put that fight behind him,” said Higgins. “He’s been so focused on fighting Bravo. This fight is very important to him. One win and he’s right back in the mix. And he’s not going to eat this time. We’ve sped things up. He’s going to get started a little quicker.”
Monaghan traditionally has been one of the area’s biggest ticket-sellers and has a loyal legion of fans in Long Beach. Given his popularity, promoter Lou Di Bella thought it was a natural for his comeback fight to be at Barclays Center.
“I wanted Seanie on a card of big magnitude we gave him a real opponent,” Di Bella said. “He looks focused, he looks in great shape, I think this is the night he will get back on track. Getting from Long Beach to the Barclays Center is pretty easy. I don’t think his fans are going to want to miss this one.”
Anxious to get back into the ring, Monaghan promises an improved version of himself on Saturday.
“This woke up the dragon in me, I was getting complacent,” he said. “I am coming back stronger than before. I can’t wait to step into the ring at Barclays. I’m a fighter. I’m willing to fight anybody and I think I can beat anybody.”