Jaime Munguia makes defense against Liam Smith on July 21
By Scott Gilfoid: Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) will challenge World Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) next month on July 21 in a fight on HBO Boxing After Dark at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. This is probably Smith’s best chance of winning back his WBO 154lb title he lost two years ago to Saul Canelo Alvarez by a 9th round knockout in 2016.
Smith has been working his way back to the mandatory title spot since then, because he wasn’t going to be given a title shot just based on his name. Smith isn’t a big enough name for him to be given a world title fight on a silver platter like some guys. Smith is not in demand. He’s just a former world champion, who took advantage of situation in which the WBO allowed him to fight a weak opponent in John Thompson for the vacant WBO 154lb title in 2015. If not for that, Smith likely would have been trounced if he’d fought one of the talented junior middleweights like Erislandy Lara, Jarrett Hurd, Jermall Charlo or Jermell Charlo.
Munguia vs. Smith will be televised starting at 10pm ET/PT on the 21st of July. Munguia isn’t a big name yet, but he got the attention of a lot of boxing fans with his recent 4th round knockout win over WBO junior middleweight champion Sadam Ali on May 12. If Munguia can take the 29-year-old Smith’s scalp, it would be a huge feather to stick in his cap. It wouldn’t be the same as beating the better fighters in the 154lb division obviously, but it would be a big statement for Munguia, especially if he beats Smith in a more impressive fashion.
Munguia’s punching power is going to be a real problem for Smith if he decides he wants to stand and slug with him or hide behind his high guard like he did in his two fights against Liam Williams. Munguia is going to obliterate Smith if he’s foolish enough to cover up to try and tire the 21-year-old Mexican fighter out. If Munguia is able to tee off on a punching bag, he’s going to wipe-out Smith and have him down for the count by the 4th. Sadam Ali was able to make it to the 4th round by using movement against Munguia to survive that far into the contest. Smith doesn’t move well. He’s like his brothers Paul and Callum Smith. Those are both stationary fighters without the wheels to box their opponents. Munguia might make easy work of Liam Smith if he’s unable to stay on the move, because if he thinks he’s going to be able to tire the Mexican fighter out by just covering up, he’s going to be sadly mistaken.
Munguia is a dangerous 21-year-old puncher who has ended 25 of his fights by stunning knockout. Munguia has only fought twice in the United States, the second of which was for a last-minute title opportunity against Sadam “World Kid” Ali in May. Munguia used his enormous height and reach advantages to drop Ali several times before a thunderous left hook ended matters in the fourth round. The newly-crowned champion is excited to defend his new belt.
“I’m very excited and thankful with everyone that made this possible,” said Jaime Munguia. “I invite the fans to go and see me live or to tune in on HBO. I will defend my WBO title with pride and honor. See you in Vegas!”
This will be the second consecutive fight for Munguia in the U.S. His previous fight against Sadam was in Verona, New York. Munguia was in the running for a fight against middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin last May, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission rejected him as a suitable opponent for GGG due to his lack of experience in the 160lb division. It’s perhaps for the best that Munguia didn’t get
approved for that fight because it would have been a much different animal for him to an experienced puncher like GGG than it was for him to fight Sadam Ali. Golovkin probably would have taken the 21-year-old Munguia apart within two or three rounds. Once Munguia landed his first hard shot, Golovkin would have went after him and broken him down right away like he did against Vanes Martirosyan on May 5. It’s a much different situation for Munguia to fight a light hitter like Liam Smith, because he can’t punch and he has a bad habit of covering up like a sparring partner when he’s facing guys that can punch. Munguia would need to change his fighting style entirely if he were to fight GGG, because his way of fighting would be like throwing fuel on the fire. Triple G would have destroyed him.
Smith didn’t take advantage of his short time as the WBO 154lb champion from 2015 to 2016. In Smith’s two successful title defenses, he beat Jimmy ‘Kilrain’ Kelly and Predrag Radosevic. It appeared that Smith was milking his WBO title by facing weak opposition to prolong his time as the champion for as long as possible. When Smith did finally face a good opponent in Saul Canelo Alvarez, he was stopped in the 9th round in a one-sided fight. After that loss, Smith beat Liam Williams twice and journeyman Marian Cazacu (2-38-1). The wins over domestic level fighter Williams shouldn’t have been enough to give Smith the number 1 ranking with the WBO. The sanctioning body should have ordered Smith to face a talented fighter like Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams. If Smith had to beat Williams to become the WBO mandatory challenger, then I don’t think he ever would have. Smith was supposed to fight Sadam on May 12, but he had an allergic reaction and had to pull out of the fight. Smith probably would have beaten Ali, but not as easily as Munguia did. Even if Smith did beat Ali, he’d soon have to face the likes of Munguia or ‘J’Rock’ Williams.
“To go to Vegas and fight for a world title is every fighter’s dream,” said Smith. “But it’s only an extra incentive to my main motivation – getting that WBO world junior middleweight title back around my waist. Munguia is obviously a dangerous puncher and I’ll have to be wary of him early on, but he’s never fought someone as good as me and a fully-fledged 154lb fighter. I’m going to have to be my best ever. Unfortunately for Munguia, that’s what I’ll be,” Smith said.
Oh brother, I think Smith is starting to have delusions of grandeur in complimenting himself. Ali has already fought and beaten someone better than Smith in Sadam Ali, so he’s proven himself more than capable of defeating him.