Saturday night had given way to early Sunday morning at Barclays Center. The crowd had grown sparse after Deontay Wilder defended his WBC heavyweight title with a first-round knockout of Bermane Stiverne in the main event.
It was time for the final walk-off fight, the fight Seanie Monaghan had waited for since the summer.
The 36-year-old light heavyweight from Long Beach admittedly had been haunted by his previous fight on that July night at Nassau Coliseum. He got knocked down for the first time in his career and lost for the first time in his 29th professional fight.
This was a chance for Monaghan to get back on track and improve to 29-1. The bell rang at 12:22 a.m. to start the first round against Evert Bravo, who arrived from Colombia at 23-6-1. Monaghan’s supporters were the ones mainly left in the stands, and they cheered him on.
The bell rang to end the eight-round bout at 12:53, and the announcement came soon after. Monaghan had pounded out a unanimous decision, fighting at a few pounds above the 175-pound light heavyweight limit.
“I’m happy to be back in the right column,” Monaghan said. “The guy was tough. He didn’t want to quit. He came all the way up here from Colombia. I got some good rounds in.”
Monaghan didn’t get many rounds in during that July fight. Marcus Browne knocked him down in the first round and the fight was stopped in the second on a TKO.
In Monaghan’s mind, this win didn’t make up for that loss.
“No, no, no,” he said. “That was an embarrassing night when I got blown out. It looked like I didn’t even belong in the ring with him. I’m still yet to show my best. So I’m just going to hang in there and keep on chipping away and get better every fight . . .
“I wanted to get back in as soon as possible . . . I think it’s a step in the right direction. It’s better than waiting around. I’m available for all big fights.”
There’s a particular fight that’s on his mind. It would be against another Long Island light heavyweight.
“I want to fight Joe Smith,” Monaghan said. “That’s really what I want . . . I’m 36 now, and I think that’s the fight everybody wants to see now on Long Island. Me and Joe match up well. I think . . . Nassau Coliseum is a no-brainer.”
Monaghan, who trains in Freeport, was told to arrive at Barclays at 5:30 p.m. His fight was listed as sixth on the 11-fight bout sheet, but he ended up getting pushed back to No. 11.
“We were warming up and cooling down and waiting and waiting and waiting,” Monaghan said. “Now it’s 1 o’clock in the morning, seven hours later. It’s real crazy.”
There were chants of “Sean-ie, Seanie” after Monaghan battered Bravo against the ropes in the third round and at other times during the fifth.
“I have a great, great support system,” Monaghan said. “People are always cheering for me. It means a lot to me. I really want to get that Joe Smith win. I want to dominate Joe Smith in front of my fans.”