This headlined a "Broadway Boxing" show a month back aired on SNY (SportsNet New York). I just caught a replay, and it was pretty fun.
"Irish" Seanie Monaghan was taking his first real step up in competition after racking up a 15-0 (10) record in his native area built against largely pedestrian foes.
Rayco "War" Saunders has been in the sport five times as long, and at nearly 40 is still operating as a high-level journeyman a little better than his record would suggest.
Monaghan took it to Saunders from the beginning, throwing punches in bunches and gaining ground. Saunders would duck and roll, then pop up with a 1-2 before moving and resetting. Occasionally they'd get into hooking exchanges with pretty evenly distributed success. Monaghan remained composed and on-rails, even when flurrying on Saunders against the ropes, and outworked him by just enough as it bore on, throwing and landing more and with more authority but with Saunders never quite seeming out of it and giving it back all the way to the end. Saunders tried to box on the outside but was usually forced in due time to either brawl in the center or retreat to the cords where he would roll with & slip punches with his neck muscles seeming to liquidate upon anticipation of contact. By the end Monaghan was a little arm-weary from throwing so much for so long but was still measuring his attack, conserving a bit, and throwing long hooking/slapping combos in spurts as Saunders picked his spots for single counters off the ropes.
The judges had it 98-92 and 99-91 x2, which more or less fit.
In his interview with Steve Farhood afterward, Monaghan said "I knew his reputation, and that I wasn't going to blow him out. He lived up to it; he's very tricky to lay a hand on more than once and if you try he's going to vanish and come back at you with something from a weird angle. He's a very professional fighter with a very disciplined defense. I'd catch him with something and think maybe he was hurt and he'd keep coming back. Very tough. He's got an incredible defense and some decent power. He's a real pain in the ass, anyone who gets in with him is in for a long and hard night."
He also said "As for what's next, well what I'd like is, Top Rank has this kid Mike Lee, he's getting lots of attention but isn't really any better than me. If Top Rank put a call in to Lou (DiBella), we can get that made. Somebody's 0 will have to go and it'll have to be his".
Farhood then said "If you get Lee and beat him you'll have all the Subway heroes you can eat for life"
(suggesting he'd be able to steal his sponsorship deal by exposing him)
Honestly, I liked what Monaghan showed against Saunders. He might actually be able to take Lee. It would be fun to watch, at the very least. Each man would be the best the other had faced to date. Neither would be taking many backward steps. Let the leather start flying.
If not Lee, then Monaghan should continue to step himself up and get onto a FNF card or something like that to gain some exposure along the way (all his televised appearances to date have been on SNY Broadway Boxing AFAIK, and that network is only available in the Northeast to my knowledge and only in limited areas outside of New York state). He's a long way from even B grade at light heavyweight, which isn't even a particularly deep division, but he could become a solid TV fighter if he stays on course. He's fit, well-spoken, and already a handy offensive pressure fighter.
Also, Saunders has a date lined up with Peter Manfredo Jr. this coming Thursday. It will be Manfredo's return to the ring a year after losing to Chavez Jr. Saunders is, again, a very high-level journeyman who's scored a few notable upsets (Daniel Judah, Tommy Karpency, nearly Chris Henry, drew with Danny Santiago) and really only loses to prospects...and has only been stopped once in 42 bouts while going the distance with the likes of Edison Miranda, Ismayl Sillakh, Isaac Chilemba, and Emanuel Nwodo. I'm not saying he should be favored over Manfredo, but he could make the hometown comeback very arduous. Peter is no longer as young, strong, busy, confident or motivated as a Monaghan - who really just
edged a lot of his rounds despite pitching a near shutout against Saunders. Don't be surprised to find that Manfredo held to a razor-thin decision...or, if Saunders can duplicate his same form against Monaghan a month later, maybe even a draw. Or maybe, just maybe - the nail in the coffin of the former Contender's career.