Jaime Munguia vs. Liam Smith in talks
By Sean Jones: The management for WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) and mandatory challenger Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) are in talks to try and put together a deal before the June 14h deadline by the World Boxing Organization. If a deal can’t be reached, it’ll go to a purse bid.
Frank Warren, the promoter for Liam Smith, is negotiating the fight with Munguia’s promoter at Zanfer Promotions and his co-promoter at Golden Boy. The target date for the Munguia-Smith fight on HBO is July 21 or July 28 if they can make a deal. Golden Boy and HBO haven’t taken a lead role in the negotiations. A possible undercard fight is WBA World super featherweight champion Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) vs. #1 WBA Rafael Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs). That fight might be more appealing to the boxing fans than the main event, which could be another slaughter on the same level as Munguia’s recent win over Ali. Liam Smith fell apart in his 9th round knockout loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez in September 2016 in Arlington, Texas. Canelo boxed Smith for the first six rounds, but as soon as he opened up with his power shots in round 7, he knocked him down. Smith was also down in round 8 and then dropped a final time in round 9.
Smith, 29, was supposed to have been challenging former WBO 154lb champion Sadam Ali on May 12, but he pulled out of the fight because of an allergic reaction. The 21-year-old Munguia was moved into Smith’s place and he totally obliterated Sadam in 4 rounds in a fight that was televised on HBO. Overnight, Munguia has captured a significant fan base in the same way super flyweight Srisaket Sor Rungvisia won over a lot of fans with his two victories over former HBO favorite Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez. Now it’s up to Munguia to show whether he’s for real or not by defending his newly won WBO 154lb title against former champion Liam Smith, who is a little older at 29 and bigger than Sadam Ali. Smith is a natural junior middleweight. He rehydrates to a solid 170lbs on the night of his fights, which is what Munduia weighed on the night that he demolished Ali on May 12.
Munguia will need to get Liam Smith out of the way before he can move on to more interesting fights against the likes of Kell Brook, Jermell Charlo, Gennady Golovkin, Saul Canelo Alvarez and Jarrett Hurd. Munguia has already said that he wants to fight Jermell, Golovkin and Canelo. Munguia was a name that was offered to Golovkin to fight on May 5 as a replacement for Canelo after he pulled out of the fight following his 2 failed tests for clenbuterol. The Nevada State Athletic Commission rejected Munguia as a suitable opponent for Golovkin fight for his May 5 fight date because of his inexperience and the fact that he’d never fought at 160. Munguia looked like a full middleweight after rehydrating for the Ali fight. The Nevada Commission spoiled what would have been an interesting fight between Munguia and GGG.
It’s likely that Smith will come apart once Munguia starts hitting him with hard leather in the early rounds. This fight could as quickly as the Munguia-Ali fight. It might even end faster, because Smith likes to stand his ground and slug with his opponents. However, Smith tends to lower his head when he fights, so there’s a chance that Munguia could suffer a bad cut like Liam Williams did when he fought him. That would be unfortunate, but it also needs to be an alert for Munguia that he needs to be focused on getting Smith out of there as fast as he can because if he head-butted on accident with the crown of Smith’s head, it could cause the fight to be stopped inside the distance like the Smith-Williams fight was stopped.
Munguia came into the fight with Ali as a highly rated prospect, but with no experience against world class opposition due to his age. But now that Munguia has proven that he’s for real with his 4th round knockout win over Sadam Ali, he’s going to have a chance to show what he can do against a serious threat in former WBO 154lb champion Smith. This is a much tougher fight for Munguia on paper than his match against Ali, because Smith is a bigger fighter with a larger frame, more power and better punch resistance. However, Smith was destroyed by Canelo, who doesn’t have the same type of punching power as Munguia possesses. Unless Smith’s punch resistance has improved, he’s going to have a real problem on his hands when he gets in there with Munguia. The fight isn’t likely going to take place in the UK, so Smith can’t count on his British boxing fans supplying the extra adrenalin he might need for him to pull out a victory somehow.
Smith beat American John Thompson by a 7th round knockout 2 ½ years ago to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization 154lb title in October 2015. Thompson captured the ESPN 2015 Boxcino tournament in beating Brandon Adams by a 2nd round knockout in the final. That was a surprise win for Thompson. Smith had little problems dominating Thompson. After winning the WBO 154lb title in 2015, Smith defended the belt twice successfully in beating Jimmy ‘Kilrain’ Kelly and Predrag Radosevic by knockout before losing the title to Canelo in 2016. Since his loss to Canelo, Smith has won his last three fights in twice beating Liam Williams and outpointing Marian Cazacu (2-40-1). It’s unclear why Smith’s management matched him up against such a poor opponent like Cazacu after his loss to Canelo. It’s not as if Smith had performed badly against Canelo and needed to be brought back to the beginning. Smith was competitive. He simply didn’t have the gas tank or the chin to beat the Mexican star.
It’s possible that Munguia could lose. You never know. Sadam Ali was a welterweight, who moved up to 154 last December to face Miguel Cotto. Ali was losing the fight until Cotto suffered an arm injury in the 7th. Without that injury, Ali probably would have lost to Cotto.