TENSIONS ran high on a media conference call hosted by Golden Boy Promotions this week. The card that was initially scheduled to warm up the crowd for Canelo Alvarez and Liam Smith was substantially pared down after fights featuring Billy Joe Saunders and Luis Ortiz could not be secured.

In their place the event will feature a featherweight clash between undefeated red-hot prospect Joseph “JoJo” Diaz and Andrew Cancio, and a middleweight crossroads fight between “King” Gabriel Rosado and Willie “The Mongoose” Monroe.

Things between Rosado and Monroe got more than little heated during the call when the two fighters traded verbal jabs and took turns knocking each other’s resumes.

It all started when Monroe was asked about talks with the Billy Joe Saunders camp that never gained traction. “When Billy Jo Saunders was asked to fight (me), they immediately said, nope,” said Monroe. “But at least they made it to negotiations with Rosado. So I mean we were already in the gym.”

Rosado, apparently, took offense at his rival’s implication that Saunders was somehow avoiding Monroe. “Honestly, I don’t even know who Monroe thinks he is,” he said. “He thinks he’s a big puncher or something and people are scared to fight him. Nobody knows who the hell he is. Honestly, I told Gomez just, whoever it is, just make it happen, doesn’t matter. Willie’s acting like he’s being ducked, like he’s some big puncher. He’s really not that special.

It continued:

WILLIE MONROE, JR.: I didn’t know punching was the only aspect of boxing.

GABRIEL ROSADO: You didn’t fight nobody. You didn’t fight no world class fighters. You fought Triple-G and you quit, and I’m going to make you quit too.

WILLIE MONROE, JR.: That’s all you can say. But you’re like the middleweight guy. Every time a middleweight has you, he’s run through you.

GABRIEL ROSADO: You ain’t special. You fought a bunch of ESPN fighters.

WILLIE MONROE, JR.: Okay, and I’m about to fight another one.

GABRIEL ROSADO: Okay. Whatever. I beat world class fighters. I’ve got world class fighters on my resume. You didn’t beat nobody special. You’re a bum, dude. I’m going to show you a bum.


During a pause in the action, the moderator took a stab at redirecting the call, asking about Saunders’ elusiveness.

Q. Why do you think it was so hard to get Saunders in the ring? This is for Gabe and Willie. Why do you think Saunders has been reluctant to get in the ring with you guys?

WILLIE MONROE, JR.: I don’t know.

GABRIEL ROSADO: I don’t know. At the end of the day, I’ve got Willie Monroe and we’re going to take care of business. That’s all it is. I’m not even going to think about Billy Jo Saunders.

WILLIE MONROE, JR.: Y’all know me from the past. I don’t do that much jaw-jacking and talking. Come September 17th we’re going to see. That’s all. I don’t have much to say. I’ve never been a talker. All my interviews and everything, you never saw me talk smack. That’s just not my style.

GABRIEL ROSADO: But I’m just saying you say Billy Jo ducked you and all this shit. Nobody’s ducking you because nobody knows who you are. So it doesn’t matter. That’s what I’m saying.

WILLIE MONROE, JR.: Okay, nobody knows who I am, but come September 17th when the opportunity comes up.

GABRIEL ROSADO: Let’s see on the 17th. Step up to the plate, we’ll see.

Critics of the Canelo Alvarez – Liam Smith card have called it massively underwhelming and not worth the price tag. That said, it’s impossible to say whether the antics on this week’s media call stem from actual bad blood between Rosado and Monroe, or if it’s just a ploy by Golden Boy to drum up interest for a card that’s being seen as a place holder while Canelo’s fight with Gennady Golovkin continues to steep.

Purchase projections for Canelo-Smith are undoubtedly higher with the event taking place on Mexican Independence weekend but, the fact remains that, Canelo is the sport’s biggest draw now that Floyd Mayweather is retired and Manny Pacquiao’s stock dropped in value since taking his own leave from boxing. Because of that, the middleweight super-fight will happen on Canelo’s timeline, not Golovkin’s.

In the meantime, we get Canelo-Smith on September 17 and an undercard that just got a bit more interesting.

As the conference call came to a close, Rosado guaranteed some fireworks on the 17. “I just looking forward to Cowboy Stadium. I’m really, really looking forward to knocking Willie Monroe out.”