Sadam Ali wants to school Jaime Munguia
By Dan Ambrose: WBO junior middleweight champion Sadam Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) plans on taking advantage of his replacement opponent Jaime Munguia (28-0, 24 KOs) in their fight this Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York.
Ali will defend against the powerful but painfully slow Munguia this Saturday on HBO World Championship Boxing at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. The undercard has WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (31-0, 22 KOs) defending against Azat Hovhannisyan (14-2, 11 KOs) in a voluntary defense. It’s a mismatch on paper, as the 29-year-old isn’t rated in the top 15, and he’s clearly out of his league against Vargas.
Ali, 29, was supposed to be making his first defense of his WBO 154lb title against mandatory challenger Liam Smith, but he pulled out of the fight due to an allergic reaction that affected his skin.
Ali’s promoters at Golden Boy then selected one of their own fighters from their stable in 21-year-old Munguia, who had recently been rejected by the California State Athletic Commission as an opponent for IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin to fight on May 5. They chose not to green light Munguia as an option for GGG, because he was young, inexperienced against upper level opposition, and he’d never fought at middleweight. For some inexplicable reason, the New York Commission chose to allow Munguia to challenge for a title against Ali. That’s good news for Ali, because he’s got a guy that he can problem outbox.
Munguia has a chance in this fight only because he’s a natural 154 lb. fighter and the more powerful guy. Ali is a welterweight, who moved up in weight for an in house opportunity to fight Miguel Cotto last December, and he beat him. The 37-year-old Cotto was injured with a left biceps tear in round 7, old and feeling the effects of having been largely inactive for the previously two years. Cotto had fought only once since 2015. Cotto retired after the fight. It was already going to be his retirement fight, but he was supposed to win. That was the whole idea of him fighting a welterweight instead of someone rated highly in the World Boxing Organization’s top 15 rankings.
With Cotto injured with a biceps tear, Ali was able to take command of the fight and sweep the last four rounds in winning by the scores 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113. Had Cotto not suffered the injury to his left bicep, he would have won the fight. I guess it doesn’t matter how Ali won the fight. The fact is he won, and now he’s got a beatable opponent in front of him this Saturday night. Ali has to take advantage of Munguia’s many flows by capitalizing on the situation by jabbing his head off. Munguia has shown in his previous fights that he cannot stop a jab. He gets hit every time with them, and it looks very bad with the way his head snaps backwards from the force of the shots.
Ali didn’t get much credit for beating Cotto from the boxing fans, given that he was old, inactive and injured. That’s the way things go. Ali really didn’t rate a world title fight in the first place. He’d never fought at 154, and he had recently been knocked out by Jessie Vargas. Ali got the title shot against Cotto because of his promoters at Golden Boy. If not for them, Ali would have never gotten that shot. He was just lucky. Had it been Demetrius Andrade that was given the title shot, then he’d be the WBO champion now instead of Ali.
“A lot of people like to make little excuses or try to downplay my win when really they counted me out of that fight and thought there was no way I could have done it,” Ali said to EPN about his win over Cotto. ”But I knew that I could. They say he was really old or he hurt his [arm] in the seventh round and they try to downplay it.”
Cotto was old, and he’s been part time fighter for many years. It’s not as if Ali beat the 2008 version of Cotto. It would have been a mismatch if Ali had fought Cotto when he was at his ultimate best in his career. Ali beat Cotto the only way he could, and that was to beat when he was old. Just a year previous to that fight, Sadam Ali had been knocked out in the 9th round by Jessie Vargas, who no one views at a top 3 guy at 147. Ali was totally dominated by Vargas in that fight.
Ali hasn’t gotten better since that fight. The only thing that’s chanced is he fought an old and injured Cotto, and now he’s about to fight a young 21-year-old Munguia, a fighter that is more of a prospect than a true contender. Munguia is probably the least deserving contender in the 154 lb. division, and it’s too bad he’s not had to prove himself against at least one contender before getting this undeserved title shot. Munguia is guy that is in the right place at the right time with him being signed by Golden Boy, and now getting the title shot without having had to prove himself first.
Ali’s very lucky that his originally scheduled opponent Liam Smith pulled out of the fight, because there was a very good chance that he would have lost that fight. But with Ali now defending against 21-year-old Munguia, he has an excellent chance of winning. Munguia is very similar to Alfredo Angulo, a fighter with heavy hands but very slow hand sped. Angulo was at his best during his career when he fought at 154. Munguia has the same glacially slow hand speed, and he’s very, very easy to hit. In looking at Munguia in battling hard to beat the journeyman level opposition that he’s been fighting, it suggests that his guy probably be rated in the top 15. Munguia has power, but he’s so slow and hittable. This fight will likely be a mismatch
“I know Munguia is a strong and he’s got power,” Ali said. ”He’s tall and he’s coming up in boxing. He’s hungry, so I see him as trying to take my spot. But I’m not going to let that happen. I’m going to fight smart. My plan is to take him to school and I’m going to win. Simple,” Ali said.
Even if Ali loses this fight based on his lack of size and power for the 154lb weight class, Munguia isn’t going to keep the title for long. He’ll likely only hold onto it for as long as it takes for Liam Smith to take care of his allergy problem and get back into the ring to challenge for the title against Munguia. It’s fortunate for Munguia that he’s facing a weak champion at junior middleweight and not one of the better fighters like Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd. Those guys would be way too much for a simple fighter like Munguia to deal with. The same goes for Ali. He would be over-matched against Hurd, Lara and Charlo.
“I got a guy who is more dangerous than Smith,” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said via ESPN about Munguia. “He’s younger, he’s stronger and he’s hungry. I think this is a dangerous fight because of the unknown. With Liam Smith we knew what we were going to get.”
I wouldn’t say that Munguia is more dangerous than Liam Smith. Ali would have had more problems with Smith, because he’s a big puncher and he’s got boxing skills, a great jab and a good engine. The 6’0” has a three inch height advantage over the 5’9”, but he doesn’t have the same pedigree as Ali, who fought for the U.S in the 2008 Olympics.