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MAKE THE FIGHT! Joe Smith Versus Sean Monaghan, The Battle For Long Island

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There isn’t much ideological overlap in the minds of Lou Dibella and Donald Trump, but that isn’t to say there is zero common ground found in the minds of the two NY-bred dealmakers.

“Make America Great Again,” MAGA, that was the tag line Trump used for much of the ultimately successful campaign to take the throne at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Dibella can see the wisdom of that slogan, to a point, only he’d be going about it a different way. The promoter, who also owns baseball teams and has more than dabbled in the Hollywood waters, came on the recent edition of the Everlast podcast TALKBOX” and expressed some bewilderment and dismay that programmers/platform providers don’t do more, and do enough, in his mind, at building up local talent.

Local, as in American made.

Dibella made sure to note he has nothing against foreign talent. He’s not looking to build a wall, keep out non American made pugilists. But what say we do more to focus on and lift up home-made talent, which is, let’s face it, easier to present to fight fans and casuals within the US, if, for example, they speak English, and have faced common adversities and triumphs?

Case in point, which we spoke on during the TALKBOX segment: a light heavyweight showdown between Dibella boxer Seanie Monaghan, and Joe Smith. They are both Irish-American, caucasian working class sorts who would have flourished in, say, the 70s, when boxing cards were more than a rarity within NY state. Seanie and Joe would have been fighting ten times a year, and likely would have faced each other by now, maybe four times. They rumbled in the amateurs, and today are both top tenners at 175. Monaghan, a Long Beach, LI resident, has been lobbying like a K Streeter to get a step-up fight. He was aiming at champ Jurgen Braehmer for two years but that tussle didn’t get made. He thought he had a career definer in the bag, a scrap against WBC 175 champ Adonis Stevenson. But those best laid plans oft go awry, and that event didn’t achieve liftoff. Adonis will not fight Seanie at the fistic opening of the refurbished Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, but will instead stay home, in Canada, and fight a man he already beat without excess trouble, Andrezj Fonfara, in June. That fight will screen, it looks like, on Showtime. Smith, meanwhile, one would think he’d be in a catbird seat, ready to pick feathers from his teeth. He won back to back upset specials, dropping and stopping Fonfara in March, and then sent Bernard Hopkins rudely into retirement, smashing him out of a California ring to the arena floor in December. But politics and such have kept him from securing a payday jackpot off of those tangoes. HBO showed his Hopkins retirement party punchbowl spoiler….

Which brings us to here and now. Dibella was caught off guard when Adonis chose a Fonfara rematch, which could be a precursor to a “big in Canada” faceoff between Adonis and Jean Pascal, if Pascal has enough left to get there. He looked to shift gears, and bring a Monaghan (28-0) vs Smith (23-1) bout to the Coliseum, which will do their boxing opener in the next couple months. Seems pretty much a no brainer; two evenly matched men, with decent sized followings and over-sized reservoirs of pride and passion, not in the “boxer-businessman” mode, but in the throwback, fight to satisfy the innate need for combat. Both with great records, with a rivalry that has been building for ten years…Can you not picture a building filled to the Islander banners with revved up Irish-Americans draining every beer keg in the joint pulling for their favorite? No, there are not two skills pay the bills sorts who dazzle you with their nimble feet and majestic agility. They are rumblers, bangers, guys who will take three to give one. And to this point, Dibella has been met with resistance, or at least enthusiasm less than zesty, for televising this match.

“The Seanie Monaghan versus Adonis Stevenson was made, it was going to be here, in Long Island,” Dibella said on the latest edition of “TALKBOX.” Then plans changed; Adonis announced last week he’d be fighting Fonfara again, and Pascal is on that card, it looks like, and that two part plan is more to liking for Team Adonis. Adonis versus Pascal would be a “superfight in Canada,” Dibella told us, and “Seanie and the deal I made were collateral damage.”

Dibella said that there is a “disrespect” emanating from TV execs. “I don’t know how any network isn’t salivating to make Smith versus Monaghan,” he continued. “That fight been talked about in NY circles since they were both amateurs.” Now Smith has elevated, because he’s been given shots, and now Seanie is due. Yeah, he’s a brawler, Lou allows, not a skills pay the bills guy. “Joe Smith versus Seanie, a battle of Long Island, two undefeated guys, it’s a helluva fight. I’m in..I think most people would be. What I’m trying to do now is to make that fight for Nassau Coliseum. It’s gonna have to be creatively made, because (as yet) there’s no TV money there.” He’s had talks with Smith promoter Joe DeGuardia and sounds hopeful it can occur.

Lou wasn’t done…

“What makes a good fight is a back story, a crowd that’s there because the fight has that kind of heat.”

He said too many cards are in lame-o atmosphere. Dead rooms signify a dead sport. He’s so not wrong.

“Opening a new building, a 21st century facility and having a chance to have two local guys to match it up, literally who both live within a distance they can both jog to the arena. I’d like to see that fight happen, for boxing, not just for Seanie or for Joe!”

Beer sales would help pay purses, no!?

Without TV purchasing it in a main event fashion, it makes it harder for the two LI guys to snag most of the gate, too.

Dibella again on the show noted that we in America haven’t been doing good at building up our own guys. He’s against walls, he said, but “we don’t give any kind of preference to US fighters….Most UK shows are very parochial,” and the same thing happens in Canada and Germany.

I’ve heard the argument, well, the Smith versus Monaghan card wouldn’t do a good number as a headliner on a premium network. I don’t agree. Give it the correct promotional push and watch it flourish, and then feel good about the choice when the Nassau Coliseum is packed to the Islanders banners with raucous fans, and casuals who will become live event fight fans in a region that needs fresh entertainment options…and the beer kegs are sold out at 10:30 PM…and Smith and Monaghan are impersonating Ward and Gatti and trading like each called the other ones’ mum the filthiest names they know.

C’mon now; guys that aren’t known to 100 out of 100 average Joes polled on Main St in anytown USA headline premium cable cards every month. Stephen, Peter, I’m talking’ to youse…

Let Joe and Seanie rumble, the battle for Long Island, and I will bet you, nobody will be disappointed.

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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