He is a blue-collar brawler, nothing majestic about his fighting style. His determination may well be his biggest asset. Yes, I have seen Seanie Monaghan fight a number of times, and he didn't scream "future world champion" to me. But the more I saw him in action, the more my mind opened up to his possibilities.
Here's what I wrote about Monaghan on Dec. 3, 2011:
Long Island ticket seller Seanie Monaghan, a local fave who will never be a threat to advance to the world title level, nevertheless gave the fans at MSG their money's worth, taking out Santos Martinez in 2:56 of round two of the Cotto-Margarito undercard. ... Seanie, a light heavyweight, rises to 11-0, and hey, maybe I should shut the heck up, and see how far this likable banger can go. Maybe he's the heir to Gentleman Gerry?
OK, I issue myself a demerit for the flippancy of that "will never be" assertion, but take back half a demerit for the open-mindedness found in the kicker.
My mind was open another measure when I wrote this on Aug. 1, 2012:
Seanie Monaghan is a local fighter who is in the midst, some think, of a transformation. Seen in many circles as a limited talent whose main skill, it could be argued, was selling tickets to his shows, promoted by Lou DiBella, the Long Beach, Long Island, boxer has raised his record to 14-0, with 9 KOs. ... We shall see (if he will be a world champion). The fighter is 30, just turned pro in 2010, and has some ground to make up. But (trainer Joe) Higgins is right in that he has improved noticeably in a couple years, and he has the sort of work ethic that makes it unwise to bet against him.
Then, on Oct. 23, 2012, I wrote:
Typical Irish brawler. Fights fan friendly. Lacks polish. Sells lots of tickets and beer. That was the scouting report on Seanie Monaghan, a light heavyweight out of Long Beach, Long Island, a year or so ago. Slowly, surely, the 31-year-old has shifted perceptions of the many people, who are now inclined to see him as a fighter who just may be able to transcend the labels.
Today, I received a press release that announced Monaghan (18-0 with 11 KOs; Long Beach, Long Island resident; age 31) had signed with Las Vegas-based Top Rank. "We are delighted that Seanie has decided to be promoted by Top Rank. He is a fan-friendly fighter who has a large and loyal fan base," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. "We expect to showcase his talents on the televised undercard of the much anticipated Juan Manuel Márquez vs. Timothy Bradleypay-per-event on October 12 at the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas."
Top Rank VP Carl Moretti told me he can see Monaghan fighting for a title at 175 pounds and admitted he is pumped at the ticket-sale possibilities Monaghan brings to the TR table. "From an attraction point of view what we could do with him and (Puerto Rican prospect Felix) Verdejo at Madison Square Garden is scary," he said.
My takeaway? Be careful about declaring a ceiling on a fighter. Determination and ambition can fill in skill gaps.